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Regulating non-lawyer will writers: a consultation paper

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Section 3 Options and consultation questions

3.1 This section considers the options and lists the consultation questions.

Background

3.2 The Scottish Government is considering whether the regulation of non-lawyer will writers should be introduced in Scotland. The aim of this regulation would be to continue to allow non-lawyers to provide a will writing service, but to protect consumers by providing a set of regulatory rules and enforcement measures and sanctions that would apply to such non-lawyers. More specifically, it would provide for the approving of a regulator that will:

  • authorise, license and regulate will writers;
  • set and monitor standards of competence and professional conduct;
  • promote good practice;
  • make sure that arrangements are in place to protect the public, particularly where a will writer, or indeed the regulator, decide to cease operating; and
  • provide for the handling of complaints.

The options

3.3 There are two options available to the Scottish Government.

  • Do nothing.
  • Introduce a regulatory framework similar to that which is proposed for confirmation agents in Part 3 of the Bill.

Option 1 - Do nothing

3.4 The do nothing option would leave non-lawyer will writers unregulated in Scotland. There is a risk that unscrupulous service providers could operate unregulated with little consumer protection.

Option 2 - Introduce a regulatory framework

3.5 The Scottish Government could introduce a regulatory framework similar to that which is proposed for confirmation agents in Part 3 of the Bill (see paragraphs 1.14 and 1.15). Set-up and running costs would be involved, but borne by the regulator and recovered from non-lawyer will writers through licensing fees.

3.6 If an alternative model of regulation is preferred, then it may not be possible to accommodate this by amendment to the current Bill and the alternative model would be delayed for consideration at a later date.

Questions

1. Do you consider that non-lawyer will writers providing a service for a fee should be regulated?

2. If non-lawyer will writers are regulated, do you agree with the model proposed in option 2? If not, what model do you propose?

3. Are you aware of any poor practices by will writers in Scotland? If so, what sort of poor practice is involved?