What’s the deal?
An online will-writing service from Which?, the consumer group.
Users complete an online questionnaire to create their will, which is then checked by solicitors at Blake Lapthorn, a large regional law firm. The firm also provides telephone support. Users receive written instructions for signing and executing their will, along with a jargon-free summary.
A single will costs £89 while “mirror wills” for couples with similar instructions cost £129.
Is this good?
Which? says its will-writing service is quick, accessible and competitively-priced. It says that more than half of people do not have wills, usually because they haven’t got around to it – even though “will apathy” can cause serious problems for families after an individual’s death.
The online questionnaire should only take about an hour to complete, and the service avoids having to find your own solicitor. Which? says solicitors might charge £200 or more, even for a simple will.
The service is aimed at those with relatively straightforward affairs, but who do not want the wholly DIY route. Will-writing is unregulated, and legal professionals have raised concerns about the competence and lack of protection provided by some online and DIY services. Which? believes its trusted brand and checking by a respected firm of solicitors should prove reassuring. The consumer group also has indemnity insurance which could be claimed against if the will proved defective – though it declined to say to what limit.
What’s the catch?
The service does not provide advice, such as on tax, and is not available for estates worth more than £1m, or those with businesses, overseas property or other complications.
Individuals must take responsibility for their wills being signed and witnessed correctly. The service does not include document storage: by contrast, many solicitors offering will-drafting may not charge for storage.
What are the alternatives?
Solicitors are regulated and must have professional indemnity insurance. Personal recommendation is one way of choosing a firm; the Law Society and Unbiased.co.uk, the professional advice portal, have online tools for finding a firm by locality and area of law.
Solicitors for the Elderly, an association of about 1,000 lawyers, says solicitors may be prepared to draw up wills for as little as £125, including a meeting, and will also do home visits.
Co-operative Legal Services, Halifax Legal Solutions and Willcraft Services also provide will-writing services.
How do I find out more?
www.solicitorsfortheelderly.com or 0870 067 0282