Take Care with Online Will-Writing Services
- 21st May 2018
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You can now create a Will in just ten minutes, via an online Will-writing service! However, you should be aware of the possible problems that can occur if you do. It may appear to be a cheaper, easier option for some, but there are various factors which can affect the validity of a Will, which should be considered.
Risk of not being signed correctly
A Will is legally valid if it is:
- in writing
- signed by the person making the Will
- signed in the presence of two or more independent witnesses
There are witness specifications which people may not be aware of. For example, a witness cannot be a beneficiary. If a beneficiary witnesses a Will they would lose their inheritance. A simple but detrimental mistake like this can easily be avoided by seeking advice about your Will from a suitably qualified and experienced lawyer.
Abuse – undue influence, capacity
A vulnerable person is at risk of fraudulent abuse if a Will is made online. There is no one to assess a person’s mental capacity to write a Will. Also there are no safeguards to protect a person from being unduly influenced when making decisions.
Wills, as with all documents are subject to interpretation, particularly when they contain ambiguous or unclear language. Terms such as ‘etc.’ or ‘sufficient’ can have an ambiguous meaning which can be subject to interpretation. This can result in serious consequences. For example, a Will might not actually reflect the true intentions of the person making the Will, resulting in it being contested, or perhaps the wrong people inheriting.
Maria Cosslett, Partner and Head of Probate, Wills and Trust at Loosemores, Commented:
“We find the majority of Wills are not as straightforward as the client initially believes. For instance, what is to happen if a beneficiary dies before you? Many Wills made without professional advice do not include a substitution provision to cover this, leading to part or all of an estate being dealt with under intestacy rules. There are many issues with online Will-writing services which need to be avoided if you want your Will to be effective in carrying out your wishes.
Maria Cosslett is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, a member of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP) and an accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).
Speak with Maria Cosslett today for a friendly chat to discuss your options.
Call: 029 2022 4433