HM Insights

The drawbacks of using an online Will writing service rather than a solicitor

Online Will vs Solicitor Will Pros & Cons

Given today's reliance on the internet and having the ability to do almost anything at the click of a button, it's only natural that web-based Will writing services have become popular. But is it the best option for you or are there risks? Although the time and cost saving can seem attractive, there are drawbacks, not least the peace of mind that something so important to you and your family has been prepared by someone who specialises in writing Wills.

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Here are some of the issues to consider when deciding how to go about having your Will written.

Regulation - Not regulated by Law Society 

Most online providers do not hold themselves out to be law firms and accordingly will not be regulated by the Law Society or another professional body, meaning that clients will not have the same protections that come with instructing a solicitor to prepare a Will.

Estate Planning Issues

You are unlikely to receive any advice on complex estate planning issues. Millions of pounds go to HMRC each year because people did not know that with good advice and planning they could reduce or even eliminate their inheritance tax bill. It seems that most online services only ask a series of simple questions which would not identify the need to undertake further planning. The fact that a Will can be prepared in 15 minutes does not suggest that it has been tailored to your specific requirements.

Pricing - On Going Annual Fees

The one-time fee may seem fairly attractive in comparison to a solicitor's fee; however, some providers charge an ongoing annual fee thereafter in case you have updates to make. If you cancel the annual fee you will then need to pay the one-time fee again if you wish to make any updates. You could potentially end up paying more than having a Will accurately drafted by a solicitor. A solicitor will try to future proof your Will as far as possible. If you do need to refresh your Will, depending on the circumstances, it could be that it can be updated via a short document called a Codicil which sits alongside your Will. This can be more cost effective in the right circumstances.

Jurisdiction - Cover for only England and Wales 

Many of the online services only cover England & Wales. If you had such a Will prepared but are "domiciled" in Scotland it could cost your estate more in legal fees in order to rectify the situation.

Get in touch

If you would like any assistance with preparing a Will, please get in touch with our Private Client team or visit our Making a Will in Scotland page.