CMA launches draft guidelines for willwriting, online divorce and prepaid probate

CMA praises advancements in legal sector, but more can be done

The Competitions and Markets Authority have announced the first part of their response to the investigation into unregulated businesses which provide will writing, online divorce, and pre-paid probate services in the UK. In it the CMA outline its views on protecting consumers and warns firms that non-compliance could result in further penalties.  Draft guidelines specifically for […]

1 in 3 firms compliant with AML regime – SRA annual report

The latest Anti-Money Laundering (AML) annual report from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has been released, detailing the regulator’s stance and approach to AML regulation for law firms. In it, the SRA warns that it is increasing its focus to “ensure that all solicitors understand and meet the obligations of the financial sanction regime.” Over […]

Professional Standards Board sharpens “blunt stick”

The Professional Standards Board (PSB), the committee set up to provide oversight and governance for The Society of Will Writers, has strengthened its remit in an effort to beef up consumer protection, consumer confidence and professional standards. In a recent podcast with Today’s Wills and Probate, Nick Ash, Managing Director of W&P Legal Services and […]

Review of “obstructive and costly” SLAPPs

The Law Society of England and Wales is joining forces with media and other legal sector bodies to tackle the rise of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) which stifle freedom of the press to report on critical stories. Often associated with the extremely wealthy, SLAPPs are being used to prevent information being released into […]

“Misleading” lifetime mortgage promotion damaging consumers

HSBC fined for AML failures

A review of the lifetime mortgages market has revealed that “misleading promotions” and “poor advice” is contributing to unfair and potentially damaging outcomes for consumers. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has laid bare its expectations on lifetime mortgage providers where it has found evidence of poor practice including Little investigation of income and expenditure Failing […]

New membership body for estate practitioners launched

best foundation

Thursday 6th October saw the formal launch of a new membership body for estate planning practitioners.  Delayed since the Summer due to train strikes and the August holiday exodus, the launch event for the recently founded BEST Foundation was hosted at Worton Hall, Oxford. BEST, which stands for British Estate and Succession Trust Planning Practitioners, […]

Tips and traps in probate property valuations

Today's Wills and Probate Podcast

In this latest podcast Today’s Wills and Probate podcast host David Opie is joined by RICS Surveyor Bill Wilkinson to discuss property valuations and imparts his expertise on how important professional “red book” valuations are when taking into consideration the tax implications. In the podcast Bill discusses the difference between a Surveyors and an estate […]

Technical Corner: digital assets, personal property law and “data objects”

digital assets

Technical Corner, 5th August 2022 – Emily Deane TEP, STEP Technical Counsel & Head of Government Affairs The Law Commission of England and Wales published a new consultation paper on 28th July. It seeks views from legal and technology experts in order to examine how existing personal property law should apply to digital assets. The UK […]

Digital probate: a significant step forward?

digital probate

Joe Cobb, Partner and Head of Department in Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning at JMW Solicitors, offers his view on the challenges faced by the digital probate system, and how it could be improved moving forward in 2022. The UK Government’s digital probate system has developed significantly since its public offering commenced in January 2019. […]

Regulation, Regulation, Regulation…

Today's Wills and Probate Podcast

In this latest episode of The Today’s Wills and Probate podcast host David Opie is joined by Director General of the Society of Will Writers Anthony Belcher. Recorded just before the latest announcement by the Legal Services Board that there is no intention to review unregulated legal services at this time the podcast explores what […]

FCA confirms provisional list of regulated funeral plan providers

Ahead of the deadline for regulation of the funeral planning market on 29th July, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have released a provisional list of approved providers it intends to authorise. As of Friday 17th June, just 24 firms are proposed to be regulated, making up c.87% of the market according to the FCA. It […]

SRA: views wanted on pre-paid funeral plans

SRA: views wanted on pre-paid funeral plans

Solicitors involved in pre-paid funeral plan work – and the wider public – are being asked for their views to help shape the approach of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in dealing with new rules in this area.   The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be introducing new rules concerning pre-paid funeral plans from July […]

Safe Hands Plans: administrators warn customers will not be repaid

Safe Hands Plans: administrators warn customers will not be repaid

Administrators acting for the failed funeral plans provider Safe Hands Plans has revealed that it is not in a position to repay the £64m it needs to customers. FRP, the administrator acting for the Wakefield-based Safe Hands Plans, says that its 47,000 customers should not expect payments and will instead be left with worthless plans […]

Digital legacies: the state of affairs


Dr Ritesh Chugh of Central Queensland University, Australia, says you should “prominently engage in planning for your digital legacy”. A digital legacy may sound like a term used only by those of the technological avant-garde, but to many practitioners it is a very real issue – and Parliament is taking notice. According to the Digital […]

Government announces consultation on MCA Code of Practice

Government announces consultation on MCA Code of Practice

The government is consulting on the proposed changes to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) Code of Practice, which includes guidance on the new Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) system. The consultation is also seeking views on the LPS regulations, which will underpin the new system. The MCA applies in England and Wales, but some aspects of its […]

Could cyber regulation for IT service providers be introduced?

Third party IT service providers could be required to follow new cyber security rules such as the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Assessment Framework as part of new proposals to help businesses manage the growing cyber threat. A consultation by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) looked into the security of digital […]

Consultation on Small Payments Scheme

The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation to review third party access to funds belonging to those who lack mental capacity without the need to get permission from the Court of Protections. The consultation has been launched following concerns over the “length and complexity” of the Court of Protection process, citing a “disproportionate and […]

Video Will Witnessing: What happens next?

The Law Society of England and Wales has launched a survey to inform its response to future consultations on extending the witnessing of wills via video beyond the end of January 2022.  In July 2020 the Ministry of Justice announced that temporary legislation would be enacted to legalise the witnessing of wills via video in […]

HMRC announces update to return of estate information process (IHT205)

Due to measures put in place to help stop the spread of Covid-19 HMRC has changed the way they deal with Inheritance Tax returns. If a person died on or after 6 April 2011 and the estate is unlikely to pay Inheritance Tax use of an IHT205 form is required. Until further notice, HMRC will […]

Will-making is about to go back in time to 1837

Changes to the law due to come into effect in January are set to transport the world of wills and probate back in time to 1837. No, not 1987; all the way back to 1837. Let me explain. The Covid pandemic saw an increase in Will writing demand but social distancing rules, shielding and self-isolation […]