InHouse Wills & Probate is a Full Member of the IPW (membership number 3521). Feel
free to contact the IPW to check us out.
But why is membership important? - we explain here.
IPW Code of Practice
- approved by
Trading Standards Institute
It was back in June 2010 that the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) achieved
approval for its Code of Practice from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) under the
Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. However, with changes at the OFT the CCAS needed
a new body to run it and from 1st April 2013 it moved across to what is now the Chartered
Trading Standards Institute. Today the IPW’s Code of Practice remains the only code
for legal services to receive this approval.
But why does it matter? The article to the right highlights some of the benefits
for the consumer:
IPW passes latest audit: It is easy for any organisation to say it has high standards
- but does it keep to them? The Chartered Trading Standards Institute carries out
audits to ensure compliance with the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme and the IPW has
passed those audits every year.
A Will is probably the most valuable document that you create, dealing not just with
everything that you own but also able to make decisions about guardians for young
children and create Trusts that can benefit your family for many generations to come.
As such you need to have full confidence in the service that you use; as an IPW member
we comply with the IPW Code of Practice which is approved by the Chartered Trading
A business that sets out to provide services as it sees fit, rather than as the consumer
needs is, most likely, setting itself up for future problems and even ultimately
to fail. In contrast, the Code of Practice created by the Institute of Professional
Willwriters (IPW) provides a framework of best practices based upon what is in the
best interest of the consumer. Any Will writing firm joining the IPW and therefore
adopting the code is giving itself a huge head start. Code-compliant business procedures
can deliver good consumer services – as well as letting the firm be recognised by
the general public as part of the established quality brand of Trading Standards
So what are some of the highlights of this approach, for both the consumer and the
Members must have the highest standards in their business. This is the starting point
from which all else flows. The Code doesn’t just leave it as a vague aspiration,
but spells out many practices which protect both the consumer and the business and
encourages good service. Where consumer law requires particular procedures, such
as cancellation rights and the provision of an appropriate cooling off period, the
Code reinforces this and can even take it further.
Members must help clients make their own informed choices. This is probably the greatest
differentiation between a high quality Will writing service and a typical high street
provider. The Code requires not just that the member ensures that the client is making
their own decision, but that any decision is a fully informed decision based on the
knowledge and experience of the Will writer.
Members are required to keep their expertise up-to-date. It seems obvious that ongoing
training is important, but without a formal annual requirement it can be all too
easy to become complacent and let things slip. Anyone can benefit from reminders
about the basics from time to time, but Members also have to keep up to date with
latest changes to the law, to tax regulations and to best practice.
Members must provide all clients with Letters of Engagement Paperwork is a pain, but
the Code reminds us all to do it right, with pricing set out clearly. It avoids unexpected
Protecting client’s money if they pay in advance Not all members take up-front payments,
but if they do clients can be confident that money is being kept safe and can be
returned if necessary.
Making clients aware of the risk of incorrectly signed and witnessed documents and
trying to avoid this happening. The greatest risk of DIY Wills is the incorrect signing
and witnessing of the documents. The Code ensures that this is minimised for Wills
prepared by the Member, benefiting the client, their family and helping to protect
the member against future lawsuits.
Introduction of other products or services Members will always make it clear when
another product of service being offered is optional. This reduces the temptation
for a hard sell and makes it clear when responsibility for an additional product
or service will be taken on by another firm. Everything is transparent.
Clear channels for resolution if things go wrong Mistakes can and will happen. It’s
how they’re dealt with that’s important. Members will have a clear complaints procedures,
with conciliation service and further redress if things go wrong. This gives clients
peace of mind that even if the worst happens there is always something that can be
We check to ensure that our Members’ clients are happy We all need an external viewpoint
from time to time and channels for independent feedback of client satisfaction is
important. Members are strongly encouraged to get their clients to fill in feedback
forms either by post or online. The IPW will undertake random checks to ensure that
the feedback is genuine.
Members must take special care with vulnerable Clients When making a Will many clients
could be considered vulnerable, simply because it is a sensitive topic that most
of us only deal with very occasionally. The Code reminds Will writers to take extra
care and gives the general public reassurance that they, or their families, will
be treated appropriately.