Two new guides, one for solicitors and one for clients, on making wills and dealing with the estate of someone who has died, have been published by the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission.

The guides contain tips and case examples with the aim of avoid misunderstandings giving rise to client complaints against solicitors. Complaints about wills and executries are in the top five areas of legal work in complaints made to the SLCC, and the guides are based on issues that have come up in real complaints.

They have been launched in November when many people go to a solicitor to write a will and pay the fee to charity. 

The consumer guide covers preparing before going to see a solicitor, the first meeting, costs, checking a draft will, the client's role in an executry, timescales and communication.

The guide for solicitors on how to avoid complaints includes tips on terms of business, things to explain to a client, capacity to test, professional appointments, storage, advice on review, and communication in executries.

David Buchanan-Cook, head of oversight at the SLCC, commented: “We know from the complaints we receive every year how important these guides are. Many of these complaints happen because there is a gap in understanding between a consumer and a solicitor. While the solicitor will be dealing with wills and executries on a regular basis as part of their working life, for a consumer the process involved will usually be unfamiliar.

“Our aim is that these guides well help both parties understand the common issues, and hopefully avoid unnecessary stress at a very emotional time.”