Archive for September, 2011

The Legal Services Board (LSB) is today issuing a call for evidence about how best to protect consumers of will-writing, probate and estate administration services. The Board welcomes evidence from members of the public, legal businesses, other businesses active in these markets and all other interested parties. The deadline for evidence is 5pm, Friday 4 November 2011.

On 28 July 2011, the Board gave notice to the Lord Chancellor of its decision to initiate a statutory investigation into the need for regulation in these three closely associated areas. This continues a process begun in September 2010, when the Board asked the Legal Services Consumer Panel to provide it with advice on consumers’ experience of the will-writing market and whether greater protections may be needed. The Panel’s advice and underpinning evidence suggested significant consumer detriment in these markets. This culminated in a recommendation from the Consumer Panel to the Board that will-writing ought to be made a reserved legal activity (meaning a service that can only be undertaken by providers authorised by approved regulators in the legal services market).

We are now seeking further evidence to help us determine whether we should make a recommendation to the Lord Chancellor that will-writing be reserved and, if so, what kind of regulatory protections need to be put into place. We are extending the investigation to the closely associated areas of probate and estate administration because of their relationship to the will-writing market.


The Office of the Public Guardian  has now published changes to its fees which will be implemented from the 1 October.
This follows a consultation that was launched on 28 February and ran until 21 May 2011. 51 responses were received and we would like to extend our thanks to all those who took the time to respond.
The changes are as follows:
-An increase in the LPA/EPA Application to Register fee from £120 to £130.
-The introduction of a new ‘Repeat Application Fee’ of £65 each time an LPA is resubmitted to the OPG within 3 months of the invalid application being sent back to the applicant.
-The cessation of the production of LPA office copies by the OPG, except in extreme and limited circumstances, and for a fee of £35.
-The removal of the Application to search the Registers fee.
-The replacement of Type 1, 2A and 2 supervision fees with a flat fee of £320.
-The introduction of an administration fee of £35 (to which exemptions will be available) for those requiring the minimal level of supervision.
– The rise of the maximum threshold of capital for those cases qualifying for minimal supervision from £16,000 to £21,000 over a period of 4 years.
-The introduction of a new Fee Remissions policy of 50% for those who have a gross income of up to £12,000.
-The renaming of a number of OPG Fees in order to make it clearer what they cover.
The Government’s Response is available to view on the Ministry of Justice Website via the below link:

An unregulated will-writer has been jailed for 14 months after fraudulently charging 130 clients between £30 and £60 to fix a non-existent problem with their wills.

Berkshire resident Walter Ventriglia, 47, was running a will-writing firm called Legacy & Law. He wrote to the clients, under the alias Tony Edwards, to advise them that their wills would become invalid by changes to the law unless they paid him to make the necessary modifications. There had been no changes to the law.

He also ran a will storage business, UK Will Register, that he claimed stored clients’ wills in a secure facility in London, whereas in truth they were kept in an airing cupboard at his home.

He was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 19 August having pleaded guilty to fraudulent trading contrary to section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006.

Friday 26 August 2011 by Jonathan Rayner- Law Society Gazette