The Society of Will Writers (SWW) was founded in 1994 (we became members in 2001) has been protecting and serving the interests of the public for over 28 years now. With near on 1,800 SWW Members we continue to grow, covering even more parts of the UK and beyond. Together, the SWW and its member help meet our aims of promoting to the public at large the real need and sense in having a valid Will, as well as acting as a self-regulatory body by vetting practitioners through stringent membership requirements, proficiency standards and ongoing training.
Protecting the consumer
Consumers are often led to believe that providing legal services means you must be a regulated individual or firm. As writing Wills isn’t a ‘reserved activity’, and whilst many who are regulated do provide such services, they don’t have to be, and helping consumers understand this and how our members can help is just one of challenges we face.
Consumers engaging with the unregulated sector aren’t always afforded the same protections as the regulated sector if something goes wrong. This is part of the reason for our existence, with our founders taking it upon themselves to implement redress mechanisms to combat this from the outset.
We’re pleased to say that complaints against SWW Members are few and far in between, although we do appreciate from time-to-time relationships can break down and reaching a resolution can be difficult. If a client of a Member is ever unable to resolve a complaint with them direct, they can bring this to us where our complaints procedure is designed to work with both parties to find a fair outcome. As of 2019, complaints handling has been overseen by the SWW Professional Standards Board (PSB) for absolute impartiality.
We also created a Public Indemnity Fund (PIF) which is paid into by every Full Member (MSWW^) when they join. For many years now the PIF has ensured that in the unexpected event a Member is unable to complete an outstanding contract for their client, we can appoint another to take over so that they aren’t left without documents or services they’ve already paid for.
The need for SWW Membership
Whilst we’re not a regulator, we have still implemented a self-regulatory framework which means that a set of standards are placed on any individual who applies to join our membership. We have three mandatory requirements which all Members must abide by:
- Adherence to our Code of Practice,
- Hold a minimum of £2 million Professional Indemnity Insurance,
- Meet Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements, totalling at least 24 hours a year
Meeting these requirements permits our Members to carry compliance certificates and ID cards, as well as display our badges, such as the ‘Safe to do business with’ mark. We do have Members who are regulated by other bodies; however, they must still meet our requirements on top of any statutory requirements they’re subject to.
Being an SWW Member promotes knowledge, competency, and security for the good of the public and the profession. We promote an SWW Member to be an expert because above all else, Will writing is what they’ve trained for and continue to develop their knowledge on to be able to do properly.
We always advise consumers to look for the SWW logo before choosing their Will Writer, and if ever in doubt of someone’s credentials, be sure to contact us immediately and we will gladly advise. All SWW Members must carry their photo ID card with an expiry date and present this upon request.