Professional body STEP has warned the public to be aware of unqualified and incompetent Will writers.
In a report published today drawing on the experiences of 329 STEP members, it reveals the impact of unqualified advisors in the estate planning sector.
Some 79% said they had come across cases of Wills with errors with 54% coming across firms making false claims about the Wills they are selling to clients.
Of those, 71 people mentioned that advisors had wrongly told their clients that they could avoid care home fees by putting their homes and other assets into a trust.
A third of respondents had seen cases where incompetence has led to significant tax bills with some charges in the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Further independent research commissioned by STEP revealed that 49% of Brits aged 18 and over do not have a Will, increasing to 65% amongst those aged 45-54.
Sarah Manuel, head of professional standards at STEP, said: “These findings are sadly not surprising. There is no regulation of Will writing in England and Wales. Anyone can set themselves up as a Will writer leaving unsuspecting members of the public without protection. All too often, people don’t realise that they have been a victim of rogue Will advice until it is too late for themselves and their families.
“STEP members have reported many examples of rogue firms and cowboy Will writers charging hidden fees and even appointing themselves as executors to exploit vulnerable clients for financial gain.”