Online wills could lead to surge in family disputes

A rise in the number of family disputes over a loved one’s estate could occur in the future thanks to the increasing use of unregulated online will writing services, researchers have warned.

Online services have become more popular over the last few years, particularly during the Covid lockdown periods.

The consultancy firm, Funeral Solution Expert (FSE), analysed 26 online will writers. It found several problems with some of the services offered. For example, some firms offer cheap will writing services for clients whose affairs are simple and straightforward.

However, many people mistakenly think their affairs are simple but later discover that they are in fact quite complex, and their wills have to be rewritten at extra cost.

Some people never get the chance to correct ineffective wills before they die, leaving their families to resolve difficult inheritance issues at a time when they may be upset and grieving.

Part of the problem is that most people don’t realise that will writers are not regulated and there is little comeback against them if things go wrong.

By contrast, solicitors are strictly regulated Online wills could lead to surge in family disputes and must have insurance to cover liability for any mistakes that may occur.

This means you have legal redress if something goes wrong, unlike with an unregulated will writer.

A recent survey by Will Aid found that more than 6 out of 10 people prefer a qualified solicitor to write their will so they can be confident that it’s done properly.

A spokesman for Will Aid, said: “It is evident that the public prefer to use a solicitor to write their will, wherever possible. They are aware that with a solicitor you can be assured of a valid will and if anything does go wrong there is proper insurance and redress.”

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