These days you can definitely make a Will online. There are over 8 BILLION search results on Google for the search phrase ‘Make a Will Online’
In fact, we used to offer an online Will service ourselves. You can do almost everything on the internet now, can’t you? Online shopping, car servicing, groceries. You can buy all sorts of things online that you’d expect were quite tactile – glasses, dentistry, and cars. (27% of car buyers would be happy buying online before seeing a car)
There is no doubt that being able to order online makes our lives easier. But after our experiment with online Wills, I can tell you this is certainly one service you should buy in a more traditional way.
Online Wills fall into two areas;
- Non-advised – these websites are usually run by technology companies, or marketing firms. They are pretty to look at, and very smoothly create something that looks very much like a will. They will often have phrases like, “Solicitor-checked” to give an air of credibility. And to be fair, for clients with the simplest requirements, the end result can be a decently drafted Will. But the problem is that the client can have no confidence that their requirements were simple, or that the Will produced is sufficient. These clients are rightfully impressed by the speed of service, and the effectiveness of the website, but they just can’t be sure that the template Will meets their needs.
- Solicitors using online forms – This splits down again. Some of these forms are simple intake forms where clients fill in their information, and this goes through to a Paralegal or fee-earner, who then drafts a Will. Others are forms that directly link into the firm’s Will Software. Either way, these are not truly ‘online wills’. Still, they will often come to the client with a disclaimer attached, to say that the Will was drafted on a non-advised basis.
When we tried an online system for Will instructions, we would invariably contact the client and make an appointment for their instructions to be clarified. There are so many variables that lead us to the ‘best way’ of writing a Will that it makes things so difficult to simply produce a template document. And we found that our clients really wanted an advised service. Most clients don’t know if they have any specific risks under the Wills Act 1837, or the Inheritance (Provision for Dependents) Act 1975. That’s WHY they come to a specialist in Estate Planning.
What is the future for online Wills?
I think unfortunately more and more people will be tempted by the cheap prices, and the ability to write a Will without speaking to anyone. Invariably this will eventually lead to a large number of potential claims being made when Executors, and Beneficiaries find out that there was a much better way of writing the Estate Plan. Unfortunately, these software companies will then bring out their well-drafted legal disclaimers, and the only ones to lose out will be families.
Shouldn’t you really be taking an hour out of your busy life to sort your affairs? Is the advice given by a trained professional not worth an hour of your time? These literally are life and death decisions. You should treat your Will as one of the most important legal documents you can produce.
Take an hour out of your busy lives now by booking in for a Will consultation.