Consumers waste £9,000 on needless will services

Consumers are wasting up to £9,000 using professional will services that they don't need, research has revealed.

Many of the biggest high street banks have agreed to review the way they sell will-writing and executor services, after a study by the Office of Fair Trading found that consumers were confused about what they've been offered.

Barclays Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and RBS Group have all voluntarily agreed to look at their selling technique and improve them if necessary.

Why should I bother making a will?

The OFT approached the banks in 2010 amid concerns consumers were appointing professional executors without understanding how much this would cost and what the alternatives are.

There is no legal requirement to appoint a professional executor yet the OFT says 43% do so. The executor is in charge of making sure the wishes expressed in the will are carried out.

For an average estate, consumers can pay between £3,000 and £9,000. Failing to shop around for executor services could be costing UK consumers around £40 million a year, according to the OFT.

How to write a will

David Stallibrass, director in the OFT Services and Public Markets Group, says the wrong decision when appointing executors could mean a potentially expensive professional service is chosen, when a family member or friend may be quite capable of handling the task either alone or with professional support.

He says: "We are pleased that each of the banks has agreed to review its selling practices and marketing literature to ensure customers are getting the information they need to make informed choices."