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In 2023, there’s a great deal that can’t be done online – but that doesn’t always mean that it’s the best way. In this article, we’re going to be looking at the pros and cons of making your will online.
As our lives become increasingly busy, more and more people are choosing to make an online will for a number of reasons – but is this a good idea? In this article, we’re exploring online wills and looking at the pros and cons of choosing this method.
What is an online will?
A Last Will & Testament is a document which you create, sign and file with a solicitor or legal representative in order to state your intentions regarding what will happen when you die. A will contains details of your wishes regarding your funeral, and also states who should inherit your assets, including any property, vehicles, cash and investments. Traditionally, a will would be physically completed and signed by hand in the presence of a solicitor who then holds a copy for security.
An online will is one which is created and completed through the internet, usually by filling in an online form and signing it electronically.
The Pros and Cons of an Online Will
While some people still prefer to make their will the traditional way, an increasing number choose to do so online. In this section, we’re looking at the pros and cons of online wills.
The Pros of an Online Will
These days, we’re all used to being able to do everything, from banking to shopping, online from the comfort of our home and office. Being able to make your will online is considerably more convenient than having to visit a solicitor’s office or endure countless telephone calls.
One of the most compelling arguments for online wills is the fact that it can save a huge amount of time. Creating, completing, signing and filing a will can involve a number of office visits and telephone calls which can rack up a fair few hours of our personal time. Online wills, on the other hand, tend to be more expedient, allowing people to complete them quickly and get on with their lives.
When making your will online, you have the benefit of being able to work at your own pace. However, with the traditional method, you will usually be working to a schedule dictated by your solicitor, including scheduling of calls and meetings which may or may not suit your own schedule.
Due to the fact that an online will does not require phone calls or solicitor visits, this tends to be a cheaper option in most cases.
The Cons of an Online Will
Lack of advice
While making a will online may be convenient, you may not always get the benefit of solid legal advice from a properly qualified solicitor who can advise on aspects of your will based on your individual circumstances.
When making a will online by yourself, you are much more likely to make mistakes. This may ultimately impact the division of your assets in the event of your death, especially in more complicated cases.
As we all know, online scams are a serious threat in the digital age, and these can be devastating for victims. Choosing an online will provider can be tricky and can potentially lead to financial fraud if you’re unlucky enough to choose the wrong one.
Although an online will is an adequate way of expressing your wishes in terms of dividing up your possessions amongst your loved ones, it may not be accepted by some courts of law if signatures – both yours and your witnesses – have been made digitally. This means that, should a dispute about your assets arise after your death, your family may find themselves embroiled in a long drawn out and costly probate battle.
Keeping your online will safe
While there are legitimate arguments for and against online wills, for the most part these are a good way of making your wishes known; although they may not be quite as legally binding in a court of law as a traditional will. In order to make your will as secure as possible:
- When choosing an online will provider, check carefully (including looking at reviews and accreditations) to make sure that the company is legitimate.
- Print copies of your online will and keep one copy for yourself and give another copy to a trustee or trusted family member.
- If there are any unusual clauses in your will – for example, the exclusion of a child or spouse – write (by hand) a letter stating your reasons for the exclusion and keep this letter with the printed copy of your will.
- Regularly review and update your will to reflect any changed circumstances; for example, the birth of a new grandchild.
- For extra security, it is often possible to file a copy of your digital will with a real life solicitor for safeguarding.
Online Will or Not?
Although perhaps not as bulletproof as a traditional will, an online will is a legitimate way of making your wishes known. With over 60% of UK adults admitting that they have not yet made a will, the convenience and cost savings of online wills may be the catalyst that many people need in order to make sure that their assets go where they’re supposed to after their death.