Ask A Lawyer: What Is An Online Will And Do I Need One?
Wills are so important – they have numerous functions including distributing your property, naming guardians for children, forgiving debts and more. But did you know that you can create an online will? Here’s everything you need to know…
What is an online will?
There are several different online will services. Some ask you a series of questions and the answers are then inserted into a will template. Others offer a downloadable form which you then complete yourself.
The level of guidance varies depending on which online will service you opt for. Some have software to guide you through the process, others provide no help at all.
Are online wills legal?
In order for a will to be valid in England and Wales, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses (who also need to sign the will in front of you). This means that although the majority of the work creating a will can be done online, you must have a physical copy which is signed.
Who should consider making an online will?
Online wills can be suitable for people with very straightforward estates; for example, if you intend to leave everything to your spouse. If your will is any more complex, you should consider getting advice. If a will is not clear, there can easily be issues distributing an estate and your property might not be handed out according to your wishes.
The pros and cons…
The good points
- Online wills are convenient. You can start at any time without needing an appointment.
- They are quick – most online wills can be completed in 15 minutes (although they must then be signed).
- They can be free – depending on which provider you opt for.
The bad points
- Lack of legal advice – most people prefer to have legal advice when making a will in order to avoid inaccuracy.
- No face to face meeting – if you prefer a traditional approach, then an online will service may not be for you.
- Lack of security – if your will is drawn up by a solicitor, you will be confident that the will is legally binding. You won’t have this protection with an online will.
Should I use an online will service?
Online will services vary hugely. Some may offer you legal advice or a checking service, others are completely DIY. Regardless, it is usually advisable to get your will checked by a solicitor after you’ve written it. They will ensure that your will has the effect you intend it to, that it is clear and legally valid.
If you need a will or will review, our team at Beeston Shenton Solicitors can help. Our experienced solicitors will ensure that your will reflects your wishes.