In this Code of Conduct the following words shall have the following meanings:
1.1 ‘a Member’ shall mean a companion, fellow, member, honorary member, associate or affiliate of National Will Writers.
1.2 ‘a Consultant’ shall mean any person who is involved in any aspect of the provision of Will Writing Services, either directly or indirectly.
1.3 ‘Will Writing Services’ shall mean the provision of Wills, Trusts, Lasting Power of Attorney, Funeral Plans, and other services of a legal nature provided by a Member to his Clients.
1.4 “the Code” shall mean this Code of Conduct.
1.5 “Clause” shall mean a Clause of this Code.
1.6 In this Code, the singular shall include the plural, the masculine shall include the feminine, and vice versa.
2. GENERAL BUSINESS CONDUCT
2.1 A Member shall observe the law of the jurisdiction in which the Member practices, and shall not knowingly assist his Clients to breach the law or leave any breach unreported to the relevant authority.
2.2 A Member shall ensure that at all times he has the required general and technical competence to advise on the provision of the Will Writing Services and has full and proper knowledge of developments in his areas of professional expertise.
2.3 Where a matter is beyond a Member’s competence, the Member must seek advice from National Will Writers before proceeding with the Client.
2.4 In the conduct of the Member’s business, the Member shall act with integrity, objectivity, and courtesy. They shall do nothing to bring the name of National Will Writers into disrepute.
2.5 All Members shall display a certificate of compliance with this Code of Conduct at their business premises, and shall promptly supply a copy of the Code of Conduct to their Clients on request free of charge.
2.6 A Member must display on his letterhead a statement that they are a Member of National Will Writers, and supply a copy of such letterhead to National Will Writers upon request.
2.7 A Member shall not practice unless the Member maintains in force a professional indemnity policy with an approved insurer, to a limit of at least £2 million, and produces to National Will Writers evidence that such policy is in force.
2.8 A Member shall have satisfactory arrangements in place for the conduct of the Member’s practice in the event of his death or prolonged incapacity, and shall provide details of such arrangements to National Will Writers upon request.
2.9 A Member must ensure that the work of all such Employees or Consultants employed by the Member are aware of this Code of Practice, comply with it, and are adequately and properly trained for the tasks that they perform. The Member shall be responsible for a breach of the Code by any of the above who is not a registered Member in his own right.
2.10 Should a Member become bankrupt, enter into an arrangement with creditors, or be a director of a company that is wound up or enters into administration or liquidation (except for the purposes of reconstruction or amalgamation), he shall immediately cease to practice and advise National Will Writers.
3. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
3.1 Members shall take reasonable precautions to ensure that no conflict of interests arises between their Clients and themselves. A Member must not act where a conflict of interests arises.
3.2 There is a conflict of interests if:
3.2.1 A Member or his company owes separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more Clients in relation to the same or related matters, and those duties conflict.
3.2.2 A Member’s duty to act in the best interests of any Client in relation to a matter conflicts with his own interests in relation to that or a related matter.
3.2.3 Where a Client proposes to make a lifetime gift or a gift on death to – or for the benefit of – a Member or the Member’s company, the Member must advise his Client to seek independent advice unless the Client is a member of his family.
4. INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
4.1 Before a Client can be bound by a contract, a Member – including any person acting on behalf of a Member – must give a Client details of the General and Specific Information as follows:
4.1.1 The General Information (see below at 4.2) must be provided to the Client either before or during the consultation, when the Client’s instructions are accepted by the Member.
4.1.2 The Specific Information (see below at 4.3) must be provided to the Client no more than 5 working days after the date of the consultation at which the Client’s instructions are accepted by the Member.
4.1.3 Both the General and Specific Information must be clear and comprehensible to the Client. It must be in a format that the Client agrees, such as on paper or electronically via email, so that both parties have a record of what is agreed.
4.1.4 Should the Client require information to provided in a special format, such as in Braille, large print, or a different language, the Member is responsible for making such arrangements and may charge for this additional service.
4.2 The ‘General Information’:
Information that must be provided by the Member:
4.2.1 The Member’s name and address, including details of a person acting on behalf of the Member.
4.2.2 A copy of the Member’s Terms of Business, as approved by National Will Writers.
4.2.3 Information on the key contract terms: delivery, payment, cancellation rights.
4.2.4 Pricing information, including total price and full breakdown of charges for each product or service, delivery charges, attestation charges, and any other items incurring charges.
4.2.5 Details of the Member’s complaints procedures and after-sales procedures.
4.2.6 Information about linked services such as lifetime updates and storage arrangements.
4.2.7 A statement that the Member adheres to this Code of Practice and that a copy is available upon request.
4.3 The ‘Specific Information’:
Information that must be provided by the Member:
The Member or the person acting on behalf of the Member must provide the Client with a written document(s) giving:
4.3.1 Clear confirmation of the Client’s instructions, including details of the Client’s circumstances.
4.3.2 A summary confirming the main characteristics of the service and/or product recommended by the Member to meet the Client’s requirements in 4.3.1 above.
4.3.3 The total price of the service and/or product provided.
4.3.4 Confirmation of the delivery times for draft documents.
4.3.5 Confirmation of completion times for signed and approved documents.
4.3.6 Where it is not possible to complete the Client’s instructions either legally or practically, an explanation as to the differences between the Client’s instructions and their expectations.
4.4 Statutory Obligations:
Members and their companies must uphold their obligations to the Client as required by the provisions of existing legislation, including but not exhaustively:
4.4.1 Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 for contracts entered into after 14th June 2014, which supersedes the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2008 and 2000.
4.4.2 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
4.4.3 The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
4.4.4 Consumer Credit Act 2006.
The Member is responsible for ensuring that all documents and information given to a Client complies fully with the requirements of the relevant legislation.
5.1 A Member that takes deposits or advance payments for the provision of Will Writing Services shall have in place an appropriate system to ensure the prompt return of any such deposit or advance payment in the event that the Member is unable to comply with his obligations under his Terms of Business and/or this Code of Practice.
5.2 A Member must not refuse to accept instructions from any person solely on the grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
5.3 In taking instructions it is the Member’s duty to establish that the Client is acting freely, without coercion, with a full understanding of the transaction, and is of testamentary or other appropriate capacity with reference to the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the common law test in Banks v Goodfellow.
5.4 In cases where instructions are received by a Member to carry out Will Writing Services in circumstances where a Member does not meet his Client, the Member shall take all reasonable and proper precautions to verify the identity of the Client, and that such instructions emanate from the Client. Where instructions are taken by an Employee or Consultant of the Member, that person shall take all reasonable and proper precautions to verify the identity of the Client, and that such instructions emanate from the Client, although it will ultimately be the Member’s responsibility to ensure that this is carried out where any of the above is not a Member in his own right. Without prejudice to the foregoing, a Member – when engaged in a regulated activity as defined by the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 – shall comply with such regulations.
6. CARRYING OUT WILL WRITING SERVICES
6.1 A member must comply with the Client’s instructions, using all due skill, care, and expedition appropriate to the need of the Client, and having regard to the requirements of clause 2.3 above.
6.2 A Member must give the Client – at the consultation where the contract is agreed – the Notice of Right to Cancel that conforms to the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (in accordance with clause 4.2.3 above). Where a Cancellation Waiver is signed, the Member is entitled to recover full/reasonable costs incurred from the Client if they subsequently decide to cancel the contract.
6.3 The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 provide that before the Client can be bound by the contract the Client must be given the General and Specific Information from clauses 4.2 and 4.3 above, including the Notice of Right to Cancel.
6.4 In order that a Member may comply fully with the requirements of any future investigation of whatsoever nature initiated by either National Will Writers, a Client or his personal representatives, or any other third party, the Member agrees to make available (without time limit and upon demand) a copy of the Client files to National Will Writers or any other third party entitled under law.
7. BUSINESS PROMOTION
7.1 Members may advertise their practice, and seek to obtain directly or indirectly Clients in any manner and through any medium, provided that the good reputation of National Will Writers is not damaged.
7.2 Any advertising or promotional material shall be truthful, in good taste (unlikely to cause offence to any other person), and shall contain no disparaging statements (express or implied) about any other Member. A Member shall not use misleading, unfair, or deceptive sales practices to advertise or promote Will Writing Services.
7.3 All advertisements placed by a Member must comply with all relevant codes of advertising, including the British Code of Advertising and Sales Promotion, the Independent Television Commission Code, the Radio Authority Code, the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services, and all relevant statutory instruments, including the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
7.4 A Member shall not seek to harass or exert pressure upon Clients or potential Clients.
8.1 A written record should be kept of each complaint made to a Member and this should be made available on request to National Will Writers.