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Online Wills: A future time bomb

Dynamite _97553303In recent years there has been a proliferation of online Will sites and adverts in local newspapers for 'Will Writers'.  Use them at your peril.  They will leave you open to both exploitation and mistakes and potentially leave you with a Will that is open to challenge or invalid.  Problems arising can have profound consequences for the bereaved, as most mistakes or defects are not found until after someone has died.

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages.

Disadvantages Advantages
It is imperative that the solicitor or will writer proves that the person writing the Will (Testator) is of sound mind. With no face-to-face contact this is not possible and leaves the Will open to challenge later. It is often cheaper than alternatives.
It is necessary for the Testator to show proof of identity, as anyone could make a Will claiming to be another person, entering themselves as the main beneficiary.  An online service does not provide for this. It is more time efficient in that you do not have to move from the house.
A Will must not be made as the result of force, fear or undue influence.  The instructions of the testator should be taken in the absence of anyone who may benefit, or who may have influence over the testator.  An online Will simply cannot cater for this. It can be completed at weekends and evenings or at your convenience.
An online Will does not provide the ability for a solicitor or Will writer to prove the testator has approved and has full knowledge of their Will.  A Will can be claimed to be invalid on these grounds.  
The Will is not executed properly if it is not signed correctly.  The testator’s signature must be witnessed by two people, who must be present with him as he signs.  Also witnesses must not be beneficiaries or be married to a beneficiary otherwise the beneficiary will lose entitlement under the Will.  
Automated Software is often used for drafting online Wills, which does not cater for complex legal and financial areas.  
Will Writers can often be unregulated and not necessarily legally trained.  
Online Wills eliminate the preparation stage where information is collected and key questions asked which ultimately shape the Will.