Terms and Conditions
Our commitment to you
1. The Will Writing Company Limited (WWC)
WWC is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in England & Wales as a Licensed Body (SRA number is 626921).
WWC is part of The Estate Planning Group (Holdings) Limited, a group of companies which also includes The Family Trust Corporation Limited and Later Life Law Limited. Only work undertaken by WWC is regulated by the SRA. Estate Planning Group (EPG) and Later Life Law (LLL) are used as trading styles of the WWC.
2. Client Identity and Limitation on Client Confidentiality
We must, by law, obtain satisfactory evidence of your identity and address. Your consultant will request items of identity (ID) from you which are acceptable. Please help us by giving the information and documentation we ask for and which is outlined in our separate ID policy – a copy of which is available on request. We are unable to proceed with any work on your behalf until ID has been provided.
3. The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
As a company regulated by the SRA, we are under a general professional and legal obligation to keep your affairs private. However, we are required by current legislation to make a report to the National Crime Agency (NCA) where we know or suspect that a transaction involves Money Laundering or Terrorist Financing. By instructing us to act on your behalf in accordance with these Terms of Business, you give us irrevocable authority to make a disclosure to NCA if we consider it appropriate.
You agree that this authority overrides any confidentiality or entitlement to legal professional privilege. We will be unable to tell you if we have made such a report.
4. Person/People responsible for your work
The person responsible for your case, and the person supervising your work, and the person to whom you should direct any complaint in the first instance, will be named in your Client Care letter which is sent to you once your case has been accepted by the compliance department. If you need to telephone us, you should, in the first instance, speak to the person undertaking your work but, if they are unavailable, someone will be happy to take a message from you.
5. Client Care and Complaints
In the event that you have a complaint or concern over the handling of your matter, we have a written complaints procedure which is available on request. We aim to deal with complaints promptly, fairly and effectively in accordance with the complaints procedure, which can include a complaint about our bill. If you have a complaint that you have been unable to resolve with the person undertaking the work for you, please contact our Compliance Officer for Legal Practice.
If your complaint remains unresolved at this stage, you may take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response from us about your complaint. The Legal Ombudsman has two additional relevant time limits that you need to know about. They will accept complaints up to six years from the date of the act or omission, or three years from when you should have known about the act or omission.
To contact the Legal Ombudsman, write to PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; view their website at www.legalombudsman.org.uk; email email@example.com; or telephone 0300 555 0333.
6. Charges and Expenses
In the case of most work undertaken such as will writing, lasting powers of attorney and property work we will give you an indication of our fees. When a fixed fee is agreed in advance, we shall not seek to charge any additional fee in accordance with clause 10 below.
Details of other expenses which you are likely to have to pay (sometimes called disbursements), including when they are likely to become due and an estimate of the amount, will be given to you by the person in charge of your case at the beginning of the matter.
7. Information on Challenging our Bill
If you are unhappy with our bill, you may have a right to object to this bill by way of the firm’s complaints procedure (copy supplied on request) and/or by making a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
8. Payments on Account
Where a fee has been agreed, we may sometimes ask for payment of costs and disbursements on account, e.g. Land Registry fees. These costs will be retained until the work we are doing for you has been done.
9. Billing Arrangements
Payment is due on delivery of any bill if it has not already been made. We reserve the right to claim interest upon any sum outstanding.
10. Agreed Fee Arrangement
We will undertake for a fixed fee, the specified work that has been explained to you, and confirmed to you in writing on the initial receipt provided. This fee will not change upwards or downwards and is non-refundable after we have commenced work, which is only after the expiry of your statutory cooling-off period set out in clause 17 of these Terms of Business. By signing these Terms of Business and indicating your acceptance of this arrangement, you consent to paying the agreed fee in accordance with this clause. You confirm that you understand that, unless you cancel this agreement in accordance with clause 17, the agreed fee will not be refunded if you decide not to proceed.
11. Administering Estates and Trusts/Financial Services
We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included on the Register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry out insurance mediation activities, which is, broadly, the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. These are usually indemnity policies supplied in relation to the sale of properties.
Sometimes conveyancing and trust work involves investments. We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and so may refer you to someone who is authorised to provide any necessary advice. However, we can provide certain limited services in relation to investments, provided they are closely linked with the legal services we are providing to you. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the SRA. The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at www.fca.org.uk/firms/systems-reporting/register
12. Tax Disclaimer
We do not provide advice on the tax implications arising out of the conduct of any matters. You must consult your accountants or a specialist tax adviser so that they can advise you on the tax implications, if any.
13. Our right to a Lien
The common law entitles us to retain, pending payment of our costs, any money, papers or other property belonging to you which properly come into our possession, whether or not this property is acquired in connection with the matter for which the costs were incurred. This is known as a “general lien”. We are not entitled to sell the property held under a general lien but we are entitled to hold property, other than money, even if the value of it greatly exceeds the amount due to us in respect of our costs.
14. Storage of Papers and Documents
After completing the work, we are entitled, and by signing these Terms of Business you are authorising us, to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses, as in clause 13 above. In addition, we will keep your file of papers for you in storage for;
a) those relating to conveyancing matters other than sales which will be kept for 15 years, and;
b) wills which will be kept for a minimum of six years after the testator has died, and;
After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy it after such period as we consider reasonable or to make a charge for storage if we ask you to collect your papers and you fail to do so. We will not of course destroy any documents such as wills, deeds and other securities.
It may occur that a conflict of interest arises either at the time of the commencement of our retainer or at a point after you sign this letter. Wherever possible we will attempt to avoid this occurrence.
Conflicts do not just arise where we may be asked to act for two clients on opposite sides of a dispute, which we are not permitted to do except in certain circumstances and where no conflict arises.
Conflicts can also occur where:-
i. Clients have a joint interest in a transaction – e.g. the disposal of sale proceeds to one Client where two or more Clients have a claim on those funds.
ii. Married and unmarried couples – potential conflicts of interest arise where no dispute is apparent. Where this occurs we will advise upon the necessity for a trust deed and whether independent legal advice is required.
iii. Partnership issues – not all partners have the same interest. We will attempt to
recognise this and, where a potential conflict arises, advise as to separate representation.
iv. Repeat instructions – where these are received from just one party, we will check the extent of our continuing authority.
In each of the above cases we will inform each client in writing.
16. Termination of Retainer
You may terminate your instructions to us in writing at any time but we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our charges and expenses. See clause 13 above.
In some circumstances we may consider we ought to stop acting for you, for example, as set out in clause 15 above or if you cannot give clear or proper instructions on how we are to proceed or if it is clear that you have lost confidence in how we are carrying out your work.
We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason but we must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.
If you or we decide that we will no longer act for you, you will pay our charges for all work carried out up to that point on an hourly basis and any expenses already incurred or, in the case where you have consented to pay an agreed fee in accordance with clause 10, no refund will be made.
17. Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply in all cases. You have 14 days to cancel our agreement. To exercise the right to cancel, you must inform us of your decision to cancel our agreement by a clear statement (e.g. a letter sent by post or e-mail). To meet the cancellation deadline, it is sufficient for you to send your communication concerning your exercise of the right to cancel before the cancellation period has expired.
If you wish for us to commence providing you with our service within 14 days then please send us an email confirming this or you can note this on these Terms of Business signature page. If you request that we commence provision of service within the 14 day cancellation period and where you have consented to pay an agreed fee in accordance with clause 10 and choose to cancel, then you will not be entitled to a refund.
18. Effects of cancellation under provisions of Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
If you cancel our agreement within 14 days as described in clause 17, we will reimburse to you all payments received from you. We will make the reimbursement without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which we are informed about your decision to cancel our agreement.
We will make the reimbursement using the same means of payment as you used to make your initial payment, unless you have expressly agreed otherwise. In any event, you will not incur any fees as a result of the reimbursement.
19. Email and other communications
We will aim to communicate with you by such method as you may request. We may need to use email. Unless you withdraw consent, we will communicate with others when appropriate by email but we cannot be responsible for the security of correspondence and documents sent by email.
20. Data Protection Act
The Data Protection Act 1998 requires us to advise you that your particulars are held on our database. We may, from time to time, use these details to send you information which we think might be of interest to you, or for the legitimate needs of our business and to comply with legal and regulatory issues unless you have expressly requested that we do not.
We outsource some operational functions to third parties. External organisations also conduct audits or general quality checks on us. These third parties are subject to confidentiality agreements in their arrangements with us. If you or we engage other professional advisers to assist with a matter we will assume, unless you notify us otherwise, that we may disclose any otherwise confidential information to such advisers as necessary.
We may need to collect, store, use or share personal or financial information about you and others. This may have been provided by you or obtained from third parties such as a financial institution that has referred you to us. We will require your express consent to share information with a referring third party about your instructions.
21. Communication between you and us
We are confident of providing a high quality service in all respects. If, however, you have any queries or concerns about our work for you, please raise them in the first instance with the person handling your matter. If that does not resolve the problem to your satisfaction or you would prefer not to speak to the person handling your matter, then please contact the person identified in the client care letter as being available for you to contact in such an event.
It is important that you raise any concerns that you have with us as soon as you can. We value you and would not wish to think that you have reason to be unhappy with us.
22. Limitation of Liability
Our liability to you in respect of any work we carry out for you is limited to £3 million.
Our indemnity insurer is Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE, Allianz House, 60 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0HR, UK. There is no territorial limit to the cover.
Your continuing instructions in this matter will amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Business. Even so, we ask you please to indicate your preferences by responding to the questions below and to sign and date the copy of these Terms of Business and return it to us immediately. We will not undertake any work on your behalf until we are holding a copy signed by all parties who have instructed us in this matter. We can then be confident that you understand the basis on which we will act for you.
These Terms of Business provide comprehensive information about the day to day handling of your work. If you still have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the person handling the matter or any person referred to in clause 4 above.