Richard Walford explains the dangers of online wills

24th October 2020

Some people may wonder why they would need to ask a solicitor to prepare their will when you appear to be able buy one online for £20 and, supposedly, it takes only 15 minutes to fill in.

A will sets out what will happen to everything you own the event of your death. It should be a personal document which takes account of all your particular circumstances and your wishes taking account of all the issues which may be relevant to you and those who will inherit from you. For example taking account of any difficulties being experienced by particular family members, and the potential impact of Inheritance Tax on your family. This may also require other documents to be put in place so that your future and your plans are properly planned and secured.

It is not just a case of getting your details added to a pre-forma document which is legally valid if properly signed and witnessed. A valid but ill-considered will may be worse than no will at all.

Your will should be just a part of the process of planning on the basis of rounded personal advice. This is the service we offer and which is not available from online providers using AI to fit you into their standard documents.

“You get what you pay for”!

Clarity

It is important that you truly understand the contents of your will. We will take you through the document to reassure you that it does indeed fit with your plans, which give you the opportunity to ask any questions needed to clarify important issues.

Protecting your loved ones

A will should ensure that your loved ones are considered and protected should anything happen to you, without rounded legal advice you important issues can be missed and that could risk the security of your family’s future.

Individual circumstances

By instructing a solicitor your individual circumstances can be taken into account. Family circumstances vary enormously and yours need to be properly reflected in your will, and there may be issued to be addressed outside the terms of your will to make sure that your particular wishes set out in your will can fall into place as you hope.

Trusts

It may be the case that what you want to happen requires trusts to be created by your will, or they may be needed to protect the interests of particular family members benefitting from your will. For example avoiding a loss of means tested benefits or having to involve the Court of Protection in the administration of your estate. Without a detailed consideration of your circumstances and your wishes it is unlikely that the necessary provisions will appear in any will prepared for you.

Tax

There may be tax implications of your death which can be mitigated if certain steps are taken. Many of these steps fall outside the terms of your will but they need to be considered alongside deciding what needs to appear in your will.  Advising on Inheritance Tax is part of what we do every day.

Wills are a vital component of securing your family’s future, and specialist advice is essential. Our team of 14 specialist practitioners can advise you according to your individual needs and make you aware of any opportunities to save tax through trusts or other devices. We have many years’ experience with the creation of wills, living wills, powers of attorney, family arrangements and trusts.

If you would like to discuss making a will you can e-mail Richard Walford at or telephone 01392 424242 to speak to one of his team at your local office of Gilbert Stephens.