The British Academy of Lawyers & Estate Planners

There may be occasions when problems cannot be resolved
and you need to contact the Society for help.

Will Writers and Lawyers working together, setting news standards in estate planning

To Make a Complaint

Before you make a complaint to British Academy of Lawyers and Estate Planners (BALEP) about a member, you should give the (member) an opportunity to address your concerns; we expect members and firms to investigate any complaints they receive about their services.

Write to the proprietor, managing director or consultant concerned), set out clearly what your complaint is and, where appropriate, explain what steps you would like them to take to resolve the problem. If, between you, you can't resolve the problem, then you can complain to (BALEP) to see if we should look into the matter.

Currently anyone can call themselves a Will Writer even if they have had no formal training and don't belong to a professional body. The (BALEP) can only help or get involved in your complaint if the Will Writer is one of our members or is purporting to be a member of the Society.

(BALEP is proud of its members and the work they do to help the general public in planning for the future, but sometime problems do arise between client and Will Writer.

Most of the time these issues can be resolved by talking to your Will Writer, however there may be occasions when these problems cannot be resolved or that the nature of the problem is such that you need to contact the Society for help.

Civil Law

If your problem relates to a commercial dispute (including the fees you've been charged), you may only be able to find a solution through the courts. Although we may be able to deal with certain issues of professional conduct related to the dispute, only the courts can pass judgement on contract terms.


If your problem relates to a criminal matter, you should ask the police (or other relevant authority) to investigate it first. Please let us know that you have reported the matter because, if the Will Writer is convicted, we may need to take further action. However, we can't say whether an individual has committed a criminal offence.

Will Writing and Estate Planning Matters

If your problem is a matter of poor work or professional conduct, please contact us and we will consider whether we can become involved.

Investment Advice

Firms offering investment business advice have to be authorised. The current authorising bodies are: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) for what is called mainstream investment business; and a number of designated professional bodies.

What do i need to do if i have a problem with my will writer?

All our member firms have to investigate complaints they receive from clients about the service they have provided, so before you make a complaint to the Society, contact your Will Writer to give them an opportunity to address your concerns.

Write to the proprietor, managing director or principal to explain your complaint, and if appropriate, say what you would like them to do to resolve the problem.

How do i make a complaint to (BALEP)?

Initialy email your complaint to or call the public help line on 0800 0276 832 to order a complaints form.

Please supply us with full details about your complaint otherwise we may not be able to help you.

We will then write to you with our findings

Can my complaint be resolved through conciliation?

If the assessor believes your complaint might be resolved through conciliation, it does not mean that it is less serious than other complaints. It means that a different approach is more likely to meet your needs.

The conciliator will try to help reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both you and your Will Writer. If the Will Writer is prepared to take the steps you have outlined, or suggests alternatives which you agree with, we will try to resolve the matter without using our formal procedures.

Although we do not have the power to award compensation, it may nevertheless be possible to agree a financial settlement through conciliation. If we resolve your complaint through conciliation, we will close the matter and there will be no disciplinary consequences for the Will Writer. If conciliation does not resolve the problem, we will see whether the Society should investigate the matter further.

How will the (BALEP) investigate the complaint?

If an assessor believes the complaint should be investigated, we will look into your complaint in detail. If there are any matters we can't deal with, we will explain why. We will also tell you if we need further information before we can start investigating.

The case manager allocated to oversee the complaint will ask for the Will Writers version of events and will usually invite you to comment on their response. At this stage, it helps if you and the Will Writer make all relevant correspondence available to each other. Our investigation concentrates on whether the Society should discipline the Will Writer.