Are electronic Wills the future of Will making?

What is a Will?

A Will is an important legal document which allows you to appoint Executors whom you trust to administer your Estate when you die.  The Executors will distribute your Estate in accordance with the wishes within your Will so that your money, property and possessions are given to your chosen beneficiaries.  A Will can also state who you wish to appoint as the guardians of your children who are under 18 years of age and provide the guardians with guidance in relation to this important role.  A Will is an important part of Estate Planning and can be crucial in preserving wealth for the next generation.

If you do not put a Will in place specifying your wishes, they are unlikely to take place. Furthermore, not having a Will can cause family arguments and legal disputes as well as additional estate administration costs and paperwork at an already harrowing time.  A Will provides clarity which assists the bereaved greatly.  Even something as simple as specifying whether you wish to be buried or cremated within your Will can give your family peace of mind as they will not need to worry about what you would have wanted as you would have taken the uncertainty out of their hands.

When it comes to making a Will, it’s beneficial to speak to an expert lawyer who can offer advice and make sure your requests are documented. We have an experienced team of Will Writing Solicitors ready to assist you with any aspect of creating a Will and Estate planning.

What are electronic Wills?

Unlike traditional Wills, electronic Wills can be created completely digitally using electronic signatures. They can be stored and transmitted online. This could eliminate the need for hard-copy paper Wills in the future. Electronic Wills can make the process of estate planning much easier and more accessible, particularly where the person wanting to make the Will is in another country or is in some kind of isolation for medical reasons.

What we know about electronic Wills so far

The current Will-making process requires the Testator to physically sign the Will in the presence of a witness. 

During the pandemic, paper Wills were witnessed virtually and since, some countries have introduced permanent reforms to enable electronic Wills to be valid.

The technology for electronic Wills in the UK is available, but it has not yet been made legally valid.  In 2017 the Law Commission proposed that the Lord Chancellor be given the power to introduce electronic Wills by statutory instrument, however, the legal requirements electronic Wills will need to meet in order to be valid are yet to be decided upon.  

There are concerns that Electronic Wills could enable forms of financial abuse and so in order for them to become valid, the requirements the documents must meet need to be decided upon in order to protect vulnerable people when giving effect to their last wishes.

Pros and cons of electronic Wills

What are the benefits of electronic Wills?

Secure: Online security measures will reduce the risk of a Will being lost.

Accessible: It is much easier to share than a hard-copy paper Will.

Convenient: You can create and sign your will at home. This will greatly benefit those who are housebound.

Accurate: Online tools and templates will ensure minimal error.

Reduces waste: It will significantly reduce paper usage and conserve natural resources.

What are the drawbacks of electronic Wills?

Legal uncertainty: They have not yet been made legally valid and there are concerns over when they will be.

Fraud potential: They can be created without an advisor and they could be tampered with.

Technical issues: There is always a chance that system failures or data breaches could occur.

Strict requirements: Failure to meet the required standards would render it invalid.

Contact us for an assured will making process to avoid the risks/drawbacks.

Explore the benefits of creating a Will with Black Norman

It’s beneficial to consult with specialist Solicitors when writing your Will in order for them to provide professional advice and ensure that your wishes are reflected in the drafting of the Will.  Our Solicitors can also supervise the signing process of the Will in person or remotely in order to ensure that the necessary requirements have been fulfilled which will result in your Will being validly executed.  This is not guaranteed if you write a Will yourself or do not see a specialist Solicitor.

We have a team of estate planning and Will writing solicitors who can handle your needs with the highest care and consideration.  These lawyers are also experts in creating Lasting Powers of Attorney and dealing with Court of Protection Deputyship Applications.

Our solicitors are trusted by many, from locals in the Crosby and Liverpool area, to our clients across the nation. 

We are open five days a week and have an office which is wheelchair accessible.  Home visits are available upon request.  

If you’re interested in finding out more about our Will writing services, contact us today by filling in the contact form below or calling us on 03300 167 847.