Online Wills – The Real Costs

By April 8, 2020Wills and Probate

Online Wills – The Real Costs

Are you thinking of making your Will using an online Will writing service? If so, the likelihood is that the speed, low costs and simplicity of the online process are some of the reasons you are considering not using a solicitor. But what’s the catch?

Before using an online Will writing service you should consider the purpose of a Will; to provide you with peace of mind and certainty that your affairs will be handled in accordance with your wishes. Is it possible to have that feeling of security when writing your Will online?

One of the problems with using an online service is that you remove the human contact in the Will writing process which is vitally important; often just body language alone can indicate unease, confusion or concerns – all of which can be addressed at that time by an experienced solicitor. Personal circumstances and family setups can be complicated and the person preparing your Will should be made well aware of your situation.

It is also important to note that, unlike solicitors, Will writers are not regulated. This means that, if there is an error with your Will or it contains any ambiguity, your beneficiaries will have little recourse against the company who prepared the Will. Online Will writers do not have to follow a strict code of conduct or enforce best practices and they are not duty bound to act in your best interests.

Further, most online Will writing services require you to appoint their company as your Executors and Trustees and for this privilege they will charge your estate an inflated fixed fee and/or a value element, which is calculated on the size of your estate. Should your beneficiaries ask the Will writers to renounce their position as Executors and Trustees they often either refuse or will charge an exorbitant fee; one such company we spoke to would charge at least £7,000.00 just to renounce!

Below is a brief summary of what you can expect from an average online Will writing service vs the service you will receive from one of Aston Bond’s experienced solicitors:

Service Online Will Writer Aston Bond Solicitor
Face to face meeting No Yes – included in fixed fee
Inheritance Tax overview No Yes – included in fixed fee
Discussions about potential claims against your estate No Yes – included in fixed fee
Advice on how to limit the success of claims against your estate No Yes – included in fixed fee
Ability to choose your own Executors and Trustees Sometimes – possibly with additional charges Yes – included in fixed fee
Advice on suitability of Guardians for your children No Yes – included in fixed fee

 

Discussions about second marriages after the 1st death No Yes – included in fixed fee
Advice about the use of various appropriate Trust No Yes – included in fixed fee
A draft  Will for your approval Sometimes Yes – included in fixed fee
A detailed letter of advice to accompany your draft Will No Yes – included in fixed fee
As many amendments to your draft Will as you need Sometimes – possibly with additional charges Yes – included in fixed fee
Face to face meeting to sign  your Will correctly No Yes – included in fixed fee
Secure storage of your original Will Sometimes – possibly with additional charges Yes – included in fixed fee

 

The truth is that writing Wills, even straightforward Wills, is not a simple process and nor should it be. A Will is one of the most important documents you will ever make and it should be handled with the respect and care it deserves. Whilst you won’t be here to witness the problems a poorly drafted or ill-advised Will can cause, your loved ones will. So, before you decide to make your Will online consider whether it is going to provide you with the certainty and peace of mind you need.

If you would like to book a free initial consultation to discuss your Will with one of our specialist solicitors please call us on 01753 486 777.

    Jade Gani

Head of Wills & Probate