Business

Will writers' code gains approval

A gavel
Image caption Many people fail to write a Will, according to research

A code that ensures that people organising a Will are treated properly by professionals has been officially approved.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has given the stamp of approval to the Institute of Professional Willwriters' (IPW) code of conduct.

The code states that customers' payments are protected and work is completed within deadlines.

The IPW has 190 members - 20% of independent UK Will writing firms.

"The loss of a loved one is one of the most stressful times in a person's life," said Paul Sharpe, chairman of the IPW.

"Everyone should make a Will, and that Will should be made right first time because there will not be an opportunity to come back to have another go at getting it right.

"It is crucially important that consumers receive the highest standard of service from properly trained and qualified professionals."

Redress

The code says that Will writers will pass an entrance exam and complete continuous professional training, provide consumers with a minimum seven day cooling off period, and complete work within strict time frames.

It also says they should protect consumer prepayments and deposits if the writer is unable to provide the promised service, and provide consumers with access to a low cost, independent redress scheme in case things go wrong.

A recent survey for the charity Barnardo's found that more than half of UK adults have yet to write a Will.

The proportion rises to 74% of cohabiting couples, the survey of 2,221 adults found.

People can use a postcode search on the OFT website to check if a Will writing business is signed up to the code.

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