Will writing conmen likely to face jail time

Rebecca McCarthy web

By Rebecca McCarthy

Two men running will writing firm Yorkshire Asset Protection have been found guilty of defrauding pensioners out of more than £30,000.

The  pair were found to be

selling policies and protections, trusts, preparing wills, lasting powers of attorney and funeral plans. From what they made of it, they seemed to have a good business.

They had lots of clients, and after seeing some of the documents they had prepared, some were fine and some not quite so, and they didn’t do some of the things they said they were going to do.”

One unfortunate client was sold a funeral plan by the firm at a cost of £6,500. On her husband’s death she discovered that the plan never existed and was forced (at what must already have been a distressing time for her) to pay the costs of the funeral for a second time.

The solicitor who managed to gain access to Yorkshire Asset Protection’s files said that he hoped jail time would send a strong message to similar conmen.

Speaking to today’s Wills and Probate, Peter Gibson of Coles Solicitors said:

“Solicitors can struggle to have a positive image, we can be perceived as fat cats and unfriendly, which gives license to these sorts of people … but the ironic thing was … [had] the services … been done by regulated firms … [the bill] wouldn’t have been anywhere near what theirs was.”

When we buy professional services, it is not easy for the lay client to judge the quality of the work and the advice given. There are many businesses offering advice on Wills, tax planning and trust advice.

The message is clear: always use a properly regulated business, such as a solicitors firm. They are closely monitored and regulated and are required to have comprehensive insurance, meaning that clients are not likely to find themselves out of pocket, should things go wrong. In addition, often solicitors will charge less than unregulated service providers.

A version of this article appeared online at www.willsandprobate.co.uk

Rebecca McCarthy is a paralegal in the Private Client team at Barker Gotelee.

Solicitors in Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk