Are online Wills legal in the UK?Smart Will
Are online Wills legal in the UK?
With the constant development of the internet and online services, it seems that there is very little that can’t be done online and this includes Will writing.
But the question that people often asks is whether online Wills are actually legal in the UK.
We thought that it would be a good idea to write a post that will help explain some of the legalities involved and hopefully clear up any misconceptions about what an online Will really is.
Online Wills – making life simple
It is a little-known fact that you can make a Will using an old scrap of paper and that this could actually become a legal document.
So, in essence, it isn’t really down to the method you use that makes the Will a legal document.
Will making is really split into two aspects; the process of making the Will and the legal signing and witnessing.
The problem is that if a mistake is made in any part of these two aspects, and it can be a very small and simple error, then it can render the whole Will void.
Smart-Will was developed to cope with the process of making the Will and to give people a way to manage their documents and any updates they may want to make.
The idea is to guide people through this process, making sure that the language they use is clear and unambiguous and keeping track of the many rules that surround Will making.
For example, a Will must have at least one executor, someone who carries out the instructions of the deceased and Smart-Will guides you through this process so that it is not missed.
By making the Will online you ensure that the final document is of sufficient standard that it can be easily read and understood by your executors and beneficiaries.
In the UK we have very clear rules around the legality of making a Will and at the moment it is not possible to have the Will making process entirely online.
But what the online process does is get you to the point where you have a clear and understandable document that you can then sign and have witnessed offline.
Making an online Will legal
As we stated earlier a Will could be made on an old scrap of paper (although we definitely wouldn’t recommend it) but what turns this into a legal document is the signing and witnessing.
When you make your Will online, you’ll fill in all of the aspects of your wishes such as who gets what assets and who will be your executors.
In fact, before you print it out, you’ll make sure that absolutely everything is covered and nothing left to chance.
You will then order a printed document but all it is at this point, legally, is simply a printed sheet of instructions.
What changes it into a Last Will and Testament is the process of signing and witnessing.
You must sign the document in front of two witnesses who will then sign to say that they have seen you do this in person and that you weren’t pressured into it and were of sound mind.
Only once this part has been completed is your Will a legal document and this is not confined to the Online method. This applies to any Will whether it is made through an online service, at your local solicitors or is just written on that scrap of paper.
Online Wills can be safer
Simply handwriting your Will is a pretty poor option in our view.
It may seem the cheaper method but it would be easy to make a simple mistake that would only be picked up when an executor comes to carry out your wishes.
A particularly fundamental mistake could actually make the whole Will unenforceable and in this case, we’d argue that the online method can actually make the Will more legal than other methods.
If you are thinking about making your Will then why not check out our Smart-Will app today?