ONLINE WILLS – LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

 

SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7004

 

 

The requirements for a valid will are as follows :-

  • The person making a valid will must be aged over 18 years (some exceptions).
  • A valid will must be in writing and contain the correct attestation clause.
  • The testator must have full mental capacity and understand the content, meaning and effect of the will.
  • The testator must sign the document of their own free will and signature must occur without duress .
  • The will must be signed by the testator and witnessed by two people (they must not be beneficiaries or they will lose any inheritance) who should all be present together at the same time. The deceased may have signed the will previously but must acknowledge the signature prior to the witnesses signing.
  • Alterations made after signature are invalid unless the alterations have also been properly executed and witnessed.
  • Marriage revokes a previous will automatically. A testator can revoke a will by deliberately destroying it . Accidental damage or destruction is not a revocation and the terms of the accidentally damaged or destroyed will are still valid.

Completing Online Wills

With today’s technology, the majority of the will writing process can be completed via online communications. However, “online wills” is not an entirely accurate term because we also need to communicate through the post and over the telephone from time to time. Despite the amount of personal input we’ll need in order to draft the will, the document can be completed without the need for you to come into our offices. In fact, the process typically takes only a few phone calls during which we collect precise instructions from you. The last step is for you to execute the finished document that we will send to you by post. Along with the will, we will include detailed instructions on how to execute your will according to the strict legal requirements.

Risks of DIY Services

A quick search of the Internet will turn up a variety of services for online wills. Many people mistakenly believe that they can save money by using one of these often non qualified services. You might be surprised to learn that in many cases the services of a qualified solicitor cost the same or even less than using one of these non-professional online companies. By using a solicitor, you’ll probably be paying the same amount but will also be benefiting from the legal knowledge of a qualified and insured lawyer.

With a do-it-yourself will, the validity of the document is resting solely on your abilities and/or those of an individual with no special qualifications to draft wills. Your assets are far too valuable to risk on a DIY will that has not been thoroughly reviewed by a trained legal professional. The smallest mistakes can lead to the worst of scenarios. Would you want to see the State come in and claim all of your assets because your will is invalid?

DIY Wills Common Errors

DIY online wills are notoriously loaded with errors that invalidate the entire document. Below is an overview of the most common mistakes made in wills not drafted with assistance from a solicitor:

~ failure to execute the document in accordance with the laws regarding signature and witnesses
~ enabling the State to claim some of your assets by failing to distribute the entirety of your estate in your will
~ failure to account for life's contingencies including birth, death, marriage, divorce and civil partnerships
~ failure to adequately provide for one or more dependents who have a prior claim to your estate
~ an intended beneficiary will lose their inheritance if they serve as a witness to the execution of the will
~ an intended beneficiary will lose their inheritance if they were unfairly involved in the preparation of the will

 

Today in the UK, citizens are wealthier than ever before. Most own homes worth a substantial amount of money. You create a will in order to see those assets distributed according to your wishes. Once you pass away, your will is all that’s left to speak to your wishes. An unambiguous, legally enforceable will is necessary to spare your loved ones a protracted legal battle in order to establish their rights to your estate.

Undue Influence

Probably the most worrying aspect of wills and probate matters relates to the situation when an elderly, infirm parent who is not in full possession of all of their faculties and may be suffering from dementia is persuaded to sign a will which they would never have considered in earlier times whereby one relative is selected to benefit at the expense of the others. The most unfortunate thing about this dishonest practice is that the fraud is often not discovered until after the only real witness is dead. This situation does occur occasionally with employed carers however by far the most common practice is when one sibling cheats the other siblings out of their inheritance. The most likely scenario is when the brothers and sisters decide who will be their mothers main carer which may well be down to who is full time employed and who is not, who is working abroad or who has time on their hands. After caring for a deteriorating parent for a few years, the carer believes that that they have an entitlement which fosters a desire to inherit everything at the expense of the others. This is not an uncommon situation and it usually succeeds because the trusting parent will sign anything that their child tells them to sign, in the mistaken belief that it is in their best interests to do so. The only real defense to this situation is for the other siblings who may have been beneficiaries under a previous will, to take legal action to contest the will on the basis that there was undue influence verified by a specialists review of the medical records and by producing expert witnesses to attest to the deceased parents mental capacity at the time that the will was executed.

Solicitors Legal Advice

The goal of all our solicitors is to make the process as simple as possible for our clients. You won’t be hit with a barrage of legal jargon. We believe that all our communications should be conducted in plain English and all your documents will also be written in plain English. We keep our charges reasonable and base them on the amount of work performed. Contact us today for free advice and a quotation. You can also enquire about the discounts we offer for family wills and mirror wills for spouses.

 

SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0330 660 7004