Online Wills - Pros and Cons
21 December 2017
In order for a Will to be legally valid in England and Wales, you must sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses, and your witnesses must witness (sign) your Will in your presence; and this cannot be done online.
Therefore, whilst an online Will service may give the impression that everything can be achieved online, it really can’t. You’ll always need a physical document to be signed and witnessed.
At Co-op Legal Services we offer the best of both worlds. We make it very easy to start making a Will online, then you can speak with a professional Will writer from the Co-op who can discuss your particular circumstances and answer your questions. The Will writer will then prepare your Will for you to sign, and make it legally valid.
Pros of Making a Will Online
Convenience – You can start to make a Will online whenever and wherever you like. As long as you have an internet connection, you can start making your Will online. This saves time and money as you don’t have to travel to someone’s office or pay the cost of a face to face service to have your Will written.
Fixed Cost – Unlike many legal service providers, Co-op offers a fixed-fee Will writing service and our fees can be seen on our website. Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work to be done making your Will, that price will not change.
Speed – Our professional Will writers can help you get a legally valid Will in place in four easy steps. This means you can work at a pace that suits you. If you’d like time to think about things a little, then that’s absolutely fine. But if you just want to get the job done, we have a very efficient process, so once you’ve spoken to your Co-op will writer you could have a legal Will in place in just 7 working days.
Advice on Wills – After starting to make your Will online, the next step is to speak to one of our Will writers over the phone. Appointments are available throughout the day and also evenings up until 8pm between Monday and Friday. You choose the time of the appointment, during which you can ask questions and clarify anything that you’re not sure about. This ensures that you get the right type of Will for your particular circumstances. Options include a Single Will, Mirror Wills and different types of Trust Wills.
Draft Will – Once you’ve spoken to one of our Will writers, we can send you a draft Will to review. This gives you the chance to check that everything is as it should be. We’ll make any changes that are needed at no additional charge, before sending you a final version to sign and have witnessed.
Legally Regulated – We’re fully authorised by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA), so you can rest assured that we have the necessary experience, legal expertise, financial protection and insurance. Unlike Co-op Legal Services, many online Will writing services are not regulated.
Cons of Making a Will Online
Free / Cheap Online Wills Templates – Not all online Wills are created equal, in fact they vary quite dramatically in levels of service and quality. Some do not offer you any legal advice, others hide additional future charges and some simply produce an automated document based on the answers you provided to them online rather than what is most appropriate for you.
Without speaking to an expert you run the risk of misunderstanding how the law works. For example:
- what happens if a Beneficiary dies before you?
- what is the role of an Executor and how does this differ from a Trustee?
- how do you describe a particular gift in your Will so that it’s legally effective?
- what happens to jointly owned property, bank accounts and possessions?
- who has a right to challenge the Will after your death?
- what happens if a Beneficiary inherits under the age of 18?
- what are the rules around appointing a guardian for young children?
Other issues can sometimes arise such as whether you actually receive a physical document which is properly bound and ready to sign or whether it is just emailed to you to deal with yourself. Is the future storage of your signed Will included in the price you pay or is that being charged as an ‘extra’?
The golden rule is always read the terms and conditions to make sure you fully understand what service you are actually getting for your money. This is why Co-op’s online Will service ensures that you always speak with us over the phone to make sure that you are making informed decisions before signing your Will.
No Face to Face Meeting – While not having to arrange and travel to a meeting will be positive for many people, it will be a negative for others. Some people like the traditional approach of meeting a Solicitor, either in their own home or at the Solicitor’s office. If so, an online Will writing service may not be for you. If you opt for the traditional approach you should expect to pay an additional cost. Also it’s likely to involve more than one meeting, so could take longer to complete.
Not Sure Where to Start – You might be overwhelmed at the thought of making a Will and have concerns that it will be too complicated for you to start online.
Here, at the Co-op, we like to think that our online Will service is nothing to be afraid of! You’re simply asked a series of questions, and if you don’t know the answers, you can leave them blank. You can then speak with a Co-op Will writer over the phone, where you can get professional advice and answers to your questions. Here are a few examples of feedback we have received:
“This is great. Easy, really clear and good value for money. So far, really impressed”
“The online form couldn’t have been easier to complete, so can’t think what could make the service better”
“Quick. Efficient. Effective. Excellent very straight forward. No hassle.”
“So far, I'm very impressed how easy you have made it for me, to start writing my will.”
“It was very simple and straightforward - I liked the "plain English" and the questionnaire was easy to complete - Many thanks”
“I thought it was an excellent service - quick and efficient”
Start to Make a Will Online Now
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding how you’d like to write your Will provided you’re very clear on the level of service that you are (or aren’t) getting.
What matters most is that you have a valid Will to ensure that your wishes are clear and legally effective after you’re gone.
If you feel that starting your Will online might work for you, we would encourage you to try our online service and see just how straightforward it really is. Otherwise, if you’d like to carry out the process entirely over the telephone, you can call our Will advisors today.
We’re here to help you from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm Saturday.
You can also start to make a Lasting Power of Attorney online.