Understanding the consumer experience of will writing

Year: 2011

Researcher: IFF Research

Who we spoke to: 102 people who wanted to purchase a will, 500 people who had already purchased a will, and 97 solicitors and professional will-writing firms

How we spoke to them: Through telephone interviews and a shadow shopping exercise


We worked alongside the Legal Services Board, the Legal Services Consumer Panel, and the Office of Fair Trading to look in-depth at the process people go through when they buy a will, including the choices they make and the issues they face. We also worked with a panel to assess the quality of a selection of wills that had recently been drafted.

Some key findings

  • 12% of the people we spoke to who had just had a will prepared appointed the will-provider as their executor
  • Approximately one quarter of the wills that were assessed were found to be of insufficient quality or were not deemed legally valid

What we did with the results

The findings were a key evidence base for the LSB's work in reviewing the legal status of will-writing and related activities. At the SRA we have used the findings to inform our position towards the regulation of these services and our future capacity to regulate new business structures that provide will-writing services. We also used the exercise as a means of testing-out shadow shopping as a research tool to help us achieve our regulatory objectives.