The government has rejected proposals to regulate the practice of will-writing, following a written request from the Legal Services Board (LSB) which said it had uncovered a "compelling case" for regulatory oversight of the industry.
The government's decision follows a report submitted by the LSB to Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling in February, calling on it to amend its list of reserved activities to include will-writing.
The LSB, backed by groups including solicitors' professional body The Law Society, said it had uncovered "consistent" evidence that many consumers are receiving a poor service from will-writers, resulting in financial loss and "emotional harm", following a two-year investigation.
However, Grayling rejected the proposal.
Currently, will-writing activity is not regulated, though many service providers - such as solicitors, who are regulated for their other activities - offer it. Solicitors, the LSB noted in its report, turn over more than £1bn annually conducting will-writing work.
The Law Society said Grayling's decision was "deeply disappointing" and had "let down" consumers.
CEO Desmond Hudson (pictured) said: "We provided plenty of evidence to the LSB, demonstrating that consumers are at real risk from certain unregulated will writers who can be incompetent, untrained and uninsured.
"Thanks to the government's decision, unregulated providers can carry on writing wholly unsuitable wills, leaving consumers without any recourse when things go wrong as a result."