Today's Wills and Probate Podcast

Regulation, collaboration and the response to the CMA Guidance

Regulation, collaboration and the response to the Competition and Markets Authority review of will writing services all form part of the latest Today’s Wills and Probate Podcast. Host David Opie is joined by Antony Brinkman; CEO of the Willwriting Partnership and Chair of the Professional Standards Board (PSB).

At the outset Antony explains the role of the PSB, a separate function from the Society of Will Writers, which is to enhance the skills and develop the competence and abilities of SWW members. Although its current role, which given the voluntary nature of membership for unregulated will writers is largely a support function, Antony sees that it may have a wider role to play in the future.

As CEO of The Willwriting Partnership he is responsible for the growth and stability of the company, improving the quality of the work and what challenges he sees for the sector.

Inevitably the topic of discussion moves on to regulation; we are moving in the right direction in terms of quality says Antony, and in his view it almost certainly will happen, citing the regulation of financial service, mortgages, and more recently funeral planning as examples of the direction of travel.

Regulation wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing; but in Antony’s view there is a risk heavy regulation would limit choice, which would most certainly be a bad thing. Indeed the PSB and SWW largely welcomed the recent CMA investigation, with its focus on providing greater clarity for firms around their obligations under consumer law.

Could it have gone further? Almost certainly, says Antony. Mandatory membership would have been a much stronger message; we still face the conundrum of trying to bring into line organisations who operate outside of the consumer protections provided of the membership bodies which was a significant part of the investigation.

The discussion is an interesting discourse on the present and future of the will writing sector and the roles the various industry may play on shaping it.

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