Writing a Will online; what could go wrong?

On the face of it writing a Will online seems like a quick and convenient option. But as this post will show you, there are some serious pitfalls that you should be aware of before making this decision.

Wills & Probate expert, Rebekah Hillman of Hillman Legal Partnerships, gives you her rundown of some of the things that could potentially go awry.

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We all need a Will at some stage of our lives. For many of us this begins when we buy our first property or start a family.

At this point death always seems like a long way off and not something we want to sit down and seriously consider.

So it is unsurprising that some people opt for some of the quickest, easiest and often cheapest options out there; from buying a DIY will kit in WH Smiths to completing a simple online form.

This is entirely their choice. However there are some serious pitfalls out there if you take this route, so make sure you familiarize yourselves with these first:

1: No expert to advise you

You may have decided that we are a nation that’s ‘had enough of experts’ but when it comes to things like your children’s inheritance, and their potential guardianship, you may wish to err on the side of caution.

There are a big range of legal options for you to consider. Having a Wills & Probate expert on hand to guide you through this decision making process could save your family much money and heartache in the future.

2: No notes are kept if the Will is challenged

This is one of the most dangerous aspects of going the DIY route. Any complicated family situation could give rise to a lengthy, expensive and potentially devastating court case.

If you write a will and someone contests it, the first thing their lawyer will do is ask about the circumstances of the instruction taking. They are specifically interested in whether it was a lawyer that wrote the will.

They will want to know:

• What state of mind the client was in when the Will was made
• What questions were asked
• Was the Will signing supervised

Many lawyers will build an entire case on the fact no advice was given, or around a lack of guidance during the signing of the Will. There’s also potential to question whether you had full mental capacity when you made the Will.

3. No trust options are provided

Trusts are a vital way of having a say in what happens to your money after you die. For example, you could leave your half of the property in a trust for your children. Then, should your partner remarry and die without a Will, your children will definitely receive your half of the property, rather than your partner’s new spouse.

Alternatively you can insert Trusts to deal with vulnerable adults, business interests, and even specify at what age your children should inherit the entirety of your estate, if you think 18 might be too young.

4: No related matters discussed such as LPAs and Funeral Plans

Having a professional consultation also gives you the opportunity to think through other options and make sure you have all the bases covered.

For example, a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) gives a trusted friend or partner permission to act on your behalf, should you lose capacity.

This would allow them to pay bills, sell property, and make big decisions for you. These can be produced at the same time as your Will to make sure you have complete cover and peace of mind.

Summary

As you can see, inheritance is not a simple matter, just ask any Charles Dickens character! Whilst filling out a form online could be a convenient and quick option, it could come back to bite you further down the line.

Make sure you seek professional advice and weigh up all your options first. The consequences of getting this wrong could affect your family for generations to come.

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