In recent years there has been an increase in online Will sites and adverts in local newspapers for “Will Writers”. These can be risky. They can leave you open to both exploitation and mistakes, and potentially leave you with a Will that is open to challenge or invalid. The problems that arise from using these services 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 main disadvantages:
- 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 necessary for the Testator to show proof of identity, as anyone could make a Will claiming to be another person and enter themselves as the main beneficiary. An online service does not provide for this.
- 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.
- An online Will does not provide the ability for a solicitor 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 the Testator as they sign. 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 are not necessarily legally trained.
- Online Wills eliminate the preparation stage where information is collected and ley questions asked, which ultimately shape the Will.
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We prepare all types of Wills, both simple and complex. We have many years of experience helping people write their Wills, and we are members of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) and the Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). We offer an efficient, friendly and comprehensive service, which will provide you with the peace of mind you seek.
At Owen White & Catlin we strongly recommend that people know where their most up-to-date Will is kept. We are happy to store your Will at no charge.
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Established in 1921, Owen White & Catlin have been providing private client and Wills services throughout South West London, Surrey and Middlesex for many years. Our offices are staffed by teams of expert solicitors and support staff, making it easy for you to get in touch when you need us. Contact us using our online enquiry form, or call us directly on one of our office numbers – our friendly staff are ready to help.