Commercial will-writing should become regulated to protect charities against losing out on bequests from badly written wills.
This is the finding of a study by the Legacy Promotion Campaign, which warns that charities can lose out in a number of ways when wills are written without the aid of a solicitor. Wills are more likely to be contested, and those challenging the will are more likely to be successful.
Report author Danny Lee, a journalist and former solicitor, said: "There is a hole in the regulation of the will-writing market. The situation is not helped by media reports that emphasise how straightforward it is to write your own will, coupled with will-writers' misleading advertising."
These wills are often not signed or witnessed properly, or may be changed without being dated, making them invalid. The will-maker may fail to use the correct name of a charity, or not specify a charity at all, leaving it to the executors to decide which organisations should benefit.
On other occasions, specifying how the money should be used can actually render the bequest useless.
Latest figures from the campaign's tracker survey show that 24 per cent of those surveyed are considering leaving something to charity in their will, up from 22 per cent in June.