With today’s reliance on the internet, and the ability to do just about anything online, we’ve seen a huge rise in online services that offer to draft your Will, often at a knock-down price. We’re also seeing Will writing services being offered alongside a whole host of other services. You can make a Will at the bank, buy a DIY kit in the supermarket, and we’ve even come across funeral directors who will throw in a “free Will” with everypurchase of a funeral plan. But you should be wary of the risks of having your Will drawn up by anyone who is not a qualified solicitor in Scotland.
Lack of regulation
Online providers (or any other provider who is not a law firm) are not regulated by the Law Society of Scotland or any other professional body, meaning you will not have the same protections that come with instructing a solicitor to prepare your Will, nor does the provider have to adhere to the same professional standards.
Estate Planning Issues
Most providers, particularly those online, use a basic template to draft your Will after you fill in a series of ‘tick-boxes’, and cannot tailor the Will to your particular circumstances. More importantly, you will not receive any advice on complex estate planning issues. The taxman receives millions of pounds every year because most people don’t know that with proper legal advice and careful planning they can reduce (or even eliminate) their inheritance tax bill.
A low-cost or free service may seem attractive in comparison to a solicitor’s fee, however, most providers charge an ongoing annual fee thereafter in case you want to update your Will. If you cancel the annual fee you then need to pay the initial fee again if you wish to make any changes. You could potentially end up paying more than having your Will accurately drafted by a solicitor. A solicitor will always try and future-proof your Will as far as possible, and updates can be done by way of a Codicil which sits along with the Will, to keep costs to a minimum.
Most online services, and those offered by other non-legal providers, only cover England and Wales. The law in Scotland is markedly different. As a Will is a legal document a small error could cause big problems, and it could cost your estate more in legal fees to try and rectify the situation after your death.
A properly-drafted, accurate Will can give you peace of mind, and ensure that your wishes are carried out after you pass away. Careful estate planning will often result in significant tax-savings, maximising the estate which passes to your beneficiaries. Our experienced team are on hand to help and can often quote a fixed-fee for the preparation of a Will. To make a Will, or for estate planning advice, please get in touch.