According to recent research, all firms offering will writing and estate administration should be regulated to protect consumers from falling victim to cowboy companies offering drafted documents.Under proposals published today by the Legal Services Board – who oversee the regulation of lawyers within England and Wales – all providers of such services would be regulated.

The announcement follows an investigation last year which found ‘systemic problems’ with services delivered by some current providers, including ‘consistent patterns of sloppiness, simple errors and poor communication’, which often resulted in an ‘unacceptable service’.

The Legal Services Board have said that regulating all providers would protect consumers from disreputable companies, but still allow specialist will writing firms and banks to offer services alongside solicitors and law firms.

Chief executive of the Legal Services Board, Chris Kenny said the board had looked at the suggestion that only solicitors be allowed to offer these services, but decided that would be bad for consumers; adding: “We wanted to keep diversity – a lot of the new entrants are bringing cheaper, lower cost and more accessible services to people, which is good.”

Before the proposals can be passed, the Legal Services Board are required to formally recommend to the Lord Chancellor after consultation; and Mr Kenny said he believes regulation of the industry could be eighteen months to two years away.