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Like the undead, the willwriters come back to haunt Quill Computers

First a bit of ancient history… back in 1993 (before the Insider and Orange Rag were even a gleam in my eye – says Charles Christian) I wrote a piece for The Law Society Gazette about the fact the then Department of Trade & Industry had successfully applied to the High Court to have a company called Quill Wills wound up “in the public interest”. Quill Wills were a will writing operation that had been selling franchises to unwitting punters and the DTi alleged the sales brochures used to promote the franchise opportunities were “false, misleading and deceptive”. This was in fact the third Quill company to cease trading in a period of two years, the others being the Quill Will Bank  and Quill Testamentary Services.

All this came as a great relief to Tony Landes, the founder and managing director of the legal software supplier Quill Computer Systems – a company that never had any connection whatsoever with either Quill Wills or will writing services generally.

Fast forward 14 years and the Quill wills business seems to have risen from the dead and is now trading as an online entity, called the Quill Group (not a UK registered company) based in that well-known centre for testamentary practice – the island of Lanzarote (in the Canaries). Its principals are a Simon and Jenny Harris – who may or may not be related to the Nicolas and Jennifer Harris who were directors in the old Quill Wills business.

The new Quill wills business says it is a member of both the Willwriters Association and the Association of Lawyers & Legal Advisors – the latter organisation claiming that its members are accredited to a similar degree as solicitors. No, we've never heard of them either – which is not surprising as both organisations appear to be run by a Simon Harris. And, just for the record, the official professional body for willwriters in the UK is the Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW)  – which was actually set up to clean up the industry's act in the aftermath of the original Quill Wills debacle. Also, not surprisingly, Simon Harris is not a member of the IPW and an Orange Rag source said “he would probably be lynched if he ever turned up at an IPW meeting”.

All of which brings us back to Quill Computer Systems (and its legitimately UK registered holding company Quill Group Ltd) who would like to point out that just as they were not connected to the Quill Wills business in the 1990s, so they are still not related to them now.

On a more serious note Tony Landes says “We have three main concerns: firstly, we are receiving irate telephone calls from clients of the other company, asking for their wills; secondly, we don't want our customers (who are solicitors) to think that we are in competition with them in offering will writing services; and thirdly, we don't want our reputation compromised by association.”

6 replies on “Like the undead, the willwriters come back to haunt Quill Computers”

Quills wills are indeed established in Lanzarote and have bred a whole new ranch of dubious schemes to 'save' clients money, but make an awfull lot of money for themselves
The claims continue to be dubious at best and I am sure that they would not be allowed to trade in the Uk. Can no one do anything to stop this couple from making outlandish claims

help!we live in Lanzarote and we've just had our wills done by Quills.Does this mean they might not be valid?

Presuming your will has been done just in the normal Quill manner then it will most likely be valid in the UK but will not be valid in Spain as the will has to be translated into Spanish by an officially recognised translator and then signed at the notaries office.
This is fine if all your possessions are in the UK but if you have any in Spain then you will have problems. This can however be rectified by using a local Spanish lawyer who can have your Quill will officially translated and stamped.

Is the “Bi-cell” scheme that Quill sell also “outlandish” and just another “dubious scheme”? It seems Quill's scheme saves on Spanish tax on purchase of a property by putting it into a Spanish SL company which is in turn owned by a UK Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) – in which the “owners” are partners. Its contraversial – there have been spats in the Lanz press between Quill and a firm of Spanish lawyers – but no one seems to proven that it is not a legal way to save on tax! Anyone?

Quill completed my will in 19/03/92 have been debiting my bank account every year with approx £20.00. I can’t reach them by phone or mail . I have the sort code and account number of the bank that has been debiting my bank account .Is there a way of getting my money back.

Editors comment: this is a comment on a very old post about a non-law firm will writing franchise called Quill – the key point to stress is this service has zero connection with the well-known legal systems supplier Quill Computers

The Society of Will Writers and Estate Planning Practitioners is in point of fact the largest professional body for Will Writers in the UK – the IPW just have better PR but are a fraction of the size!

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