Inheritance Tax / Estate Planning / News

Is an online Will good enough?

Many people now choose to set up a Will online for speed and convenience, and the number of providers is growing. But are online Wills a suitable and effective option when the time comes? Steve Wright, our Estates Director, looks at what you need to be aware of when opting for an online or simple Will.

Online Wills now account for about 5% of all those written in the UK; the equivalent of 60,000 documents every year. And the pandemic may have accounted for that figure being even higher with some believing that the total could have topped 150,000 over the last 18 months.

Certainly, online Wills can offer a quick and easy option for those who are keen to ensure some preparation is in place for when the time comes. The difficulty is that online options may not take into account any complexities of your personal circumstances. And while many people believe their affairs are simple, in reality they are anything but.

In a recent study a number of online Will providers were identified as not taking into account many of the reasons which might need consideration when drawing up a Will. These so-called complexities included marital status, children from previous relationships, assets, business ownership, self-employment and overseas property.

It might be argued that a number of these factors are common considerations, and actually affect many people, so the fact that they aren’t included highlights the basic nature of what an online Will offers. As a result, these Wills run the very real risk of not being fit for purpose. It’s also worth considering the recourse available if your family finds that the Will is unusable, with many online Will-writers limiting any liability to the cost of the Will only.

Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever need to set up. It makes sense not to underestimate the time and care needed to ensure that you have a robust Will which will protect you, your Estate and your beneficiaries.