Our goal is to ensure our customers have the peace of mind of having a professionally made will. As part of this, every will is checked by a solicitor.
In February 2019 we received consent from the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority to employ qualified solicitors and allow them to advise the public. To get this, the SRA went through all of our processes including our offer of solicitor-checked wills. Since then we have been proud to be the only specialist provider of online wills to be able to provide this level of assurance to our customers.
Our solicitors carry out a number of tasks to improve our customers’ experience. These include checking every will our customers make, giving advice and feedback on wills where necessary, responding to customer questions of a legal nature by telephone or by email and providing training.
What is a solicitor?
A solicitor is a legal professional who has gone through all the necessary training and who subscribes to a professional code of practice. The training involves both academic and practical stages with rigorous examinations throughout. There is also a requirement for continuing training to ensure ongoing competence as the law evolves. Solicitors can advise on any area of law but they tend to specialise in e.g. wills & probate, property, litigation, tax etc.
Solicitors have traditionally worked in law firms that are registered with the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA). In recent years, solicitors have been allowed to give advice to consumers from other professional and commercial organisations. This has been done in a drive to improve access to justice.
Who are the SRA?
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is the body that regulates and oversees solicitors and law firms in England and Wales. The SRA set out the principles and code of conduct that all solicitors and law firms must adhere to. Solicitors are bound to act by the principles and the code even if they are not employed by a law firm.
Solicitors employed by businesses like Make a Will Online remain members of the SRA and are subject the extent of the SRA’s regulation.
How did they decide to give us permission?
SRA Innovate’s “Waiver” scheme was set up in 2018 following extensive consultation. The aims of the scheme are to encourage smarter working, innovation and improve access to legal services. We saw an opportunity to engage solicitors and improve our customers’ experience. This was in keeping with our core values of offering the best peace of mind.
We gave extensive information about our business methods, customer safeguards and our proposed improvements to the SRA. They examined these and raised questions over an approval process that took several months. The SRA Innovate committee considered our proposals (including the opportunity to have solicitor-checked wills) and gave approval in February 2019.
Whilst we are not a registered law firm, we are able to hire qualified solicitors and provide legal advice to the public. We do this having had a detailed audit of our business methods carried out by the regulator. This gives peace of mind not only to our customers but also to the solicitors who we work with.
For further information:
You can download a copy of the SRA Decision here.
If you have any questions or you would like further information on anything we have set out above please contact us. Our contact details are here. Please address any correspondence to “Head of Legal”.