Making an online Will sounds like a good idea—it’s cheap, quick and simple. But an online Will could cost your loved ones tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds!
What the online Will sites don't tell you is that they are only suitable if your circumstances are very simple and straightforward.
Here are some examples where making an online Will could be a very expensive mistake:
You are cohabiting with a partner
You have children from a previous relationship
You don't want your home sold to pay care home fees
You have a disabled or vulnerable child
You want to exclude someone from your Will
With an online Will in these circumstances:
A cohabiting couple could pay £130,000 more Inheritance Tax than needed.
Your children from a previous relationship could be disinherited.
Your family home could be sold to pay care home fees.
Your disabled or vulnerable child could lose their state benefits. The unscrupulous could take advantage of them.
An excluded beneficiary could challenge your Will. This could cost your estate thousands of pounds in legal fees and court costs.
In these cases and many more, a simple online Will won't do. You need a bespoke Will tailored to your circumstances and wishes.
Even if you think your circumstances and wishes are simple, it is all too easy to make a mistake. After all, an online Will is little more than a fill in the blanks form that you can buy from any stationers. It is often said that solicitors make more money sorting out DIY Wills than they do from writing Wills!
Some online Will sites offer to check your Will for an extra fee. But if you read their terms and conditions, you'll find out just how limited these checks are. You'll also find a whole lot of disclaimers— effectively, you're on your own.
Beware of online Will writing companies that appointment themselves as executors.
Most people appoint their partner or relatives to be executors. They don’t charge and can always employ professionals at an hourly rate if they need help.
One online Will company does not even give you the option of appointing your own executors. It appoints itself. This is buried in their very lengthy terms and conditions along with the cost — a whopping 4% of your estate! That’s more than twice the fee the Law Society recommend solicitors to charge.
But it is even worse than that. They define your estate as all your assets including the full value of everything you own jointly, not just your share. This means the market price of your property (with no deduction of the mortgage) and joint bank accounts. They even include pension pots and life assurance policies.
So, a couple with a £250,000 home and £50,000 of other assets would be stung for £12,000 on the first death and a further £12,000 on the second death. That’s a total of £24,000 plus £4,800 VAT for some simple form filling.
That cheap online Will ended up being very expensive.
With a bespoke Will writing service you get:
A FREE telephone consultation with a qualified Member of the Society of Will Writers.
A consultation report with advice on the best Will for your circumstances and wishes.
Your Will drafted by an experienced Will writer not by a computer system.
A commentary explaining your Will clause by clause in plain English.
Your final Will printed on heavyweight paper in a tamper-resistant binding.
An attestation check to make sure your Will is signed and witnessed correctly.
£2.5 million professional indemnity insurance protection.
A Will is one the most important legal documents you will ever make. It deals with all your worldly possessions and wealth. It protects your nearest and dearest loved ones. Why would you risk not getting it right?