As mentioned in a previous article about online divorce, we would be exploring the pros and cons of going the online route with will-writing.
Like DIY divorce, there are similar concerns being investigated around the regulation of online will-writing services and their possible breach of consumer protection law.
So here are some things to take into account when making your decision about whether to write up your will with or without any legal assistance:
- Convenient: Online will-writing services are accessible 24/7 from the comfort of your home. You can create or update your will at a time that suits you, without the need for appointments or travel.
- Cost-Effective: Many online will-writing platforms are more affordable than hiring a solicitor to draft your will. This can be a cost-effective option for individuals with relatively straightforward estate planning needs.
- User-Friendly: Online platforms often provide user-friendly templates and guides to help you navigate the process, making it accessible to individuals without legal expertise.
- Private: You can work on your will in a private setting, which may be more comfortable for some people compared to discussing personal matters with a solicitor.
- Quick: The process of creating a will online can be relatively quick, especially if your estate planning needs are simple.
- Complexity of Estates: Online will-writing services may not be suitable for individuals with complex financial situations or intricate estate plans. If your situation involves trusts, business interests, or significant assets, it’s advisable to seek professional legal advice.
- Family Dynamics: If you have dependents with special needs, estranged family members, or complex family relationships, a solicitor can help ensure your wishes are clear and legally sound.
- Risk of Disputes: If there’s a possibility of family members contesting your will, a solicitor can help draft a more airtight document.
- Witnessing and Signing: In the UK, wills must be properly witnessed and signed to be legally valid. Online services may not provide guidance or assistance with this crucial step, potentially leading to issues with the will’s validity.
- Updates and Changes: Online wills may not easily accommodate updates or changes over time. If you need to make amendments to your will, you might need to create an entirely new document, which could be inconvenient and costly.
- Data Security: Sharing personal and financial information online can raise concerns about data security and privacy. Ensure that the online service you choose has robust security measures in place.
- Legal Expertise: Online platforms provide templates and guides, but they may not offer the same level of legal expertise as a qualified solicitor. This can result in errors or oversights that could invalidate your will or lead to unintended consequences. If you have questions or concerns about your will you may need to consult a solicitor separately.
It’s important to note that while online DIY will-writing services can provide a convenient solution in some cases, they might not cover all the necessary legal intricacies.
So before deciding on an online service or drafting a will yourself, consider consulting with a solicitor.
A solicitor can provide you with legal advice tailored to your specific situation, ensuring that your wishes are properly documented and legally valid and save you many future headaches.
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