Online wills

This page was last updated on 1 January 2021

Online Wills In 2021

Wills are the best way to set out your wishes as to what you want to happen with your money and property after you die.This will be used in the probate process and can give you and your family peace of mind knowing who will inherit what.Online wills are a simple and flexible way of making a will.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of the page below.


What will happen if I do not have a will?

One of the reasons will writing online is so popular is that the consequences of dying without a will are so vast.

If you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to intestacy rules, so you will not get to express your wishes as to how much your family and loved ones will get of your estate, what happens with your funeral, and who will look after your dependents.

Who can write a will?

To make a will, you have to be over 18,  have mental capacity, and not be making a will because of any pressure. You also must follow the legal formalities.

What is an online will?

An online will is quite simply whenever you make your will through a website. The type of services you get can vary, from a digital tool to draft your will, to an expert or solicitor who reviews your will.

Are online wills legal in the UK?

Making a will online is certainly legal in the UK, as long as the will is sent to you as the last step to be signed and witnessed.

Are online wills valid?

Technically, to be valid, all a will needs is to be made by someone over the age of 18 with mental capacity, signed and witnessed by two adults. 

However, if you do not get the formalities right, your Will will not be valid from the start, which is more likely with online wills than if you use a solicitor. with experience in drafting wills

Why would I not write my will myself?

While it may be free, the main reason not to do your own will is that it is more likely you will not get the legal form of the document right, which might mean that it is not legally valid.

You could also make mistakes as to the content of your will, which may mean your family members and loved ones either do not get what you wanted them to, or the probate process will be much harder for your executors.

You can write the will yourself, but it is still a good idea to get a solicitor to look over the details and check if everything is done right.

Here is a short video explaining what a will should cover.

What are the intestacy rules in England and Wales?

Intestacy rules are the rules about what happens to your property if you die without making a will in the UK.

In England and Wales, if you are married or in a civil partnership without children, your partner will inherit everything you own, unless you own it jointly with someone else.

If you are married and have children, your husband or wife will get the first £270,000 in your estate, as well as 50% of the rest. The rest is distributed between your children. If you are single, and you have not got children, the intestacy rules are less clear.

What are the best online wills?

The best online will service for you depends on how much money you are willing to pay and how much support you want.

Lots of businesses such as Farewill, Which? Wills, Beyond, Legal Wills and Kwil provide a will writing service. It is a good idea to shop around and get more than one quote, to see which way will provide the best services.

Do I need a solicitor to write an online will?

You do not need a solicitor to write a will, and often people can save money by doing their wills themselves or online. However, solicitors’ services can give you peace of mind or legal help and advice if you have a complicated estate.

How long does it take to get an online will?

Often it can take as little as 15 minutes to answer the simple questions that are used to generate a will. It may take longer for an expert to review your will, then the final step, where you will get your will signed and witnessed, you can do in your own time.

Can I do a will online for free?

A number of companies offer free or very cheap wills online, such as Free Wills.

However, you should take care if there are hidden costs with these services. 

Before you start writing your will, you should see if you can do it through a charity, such as Free Wills Month, Will Aid or Cancer Research, or another charity, or through your trade union, as this could be free.

Why is it cheaper to make a will online than to use a solicitor?

The clear benefit of using solicitors for wills is that they are qualified to give you legal advice, such as help on inheritance tax, and you will have more peace of mind that the will has been drafted correctly.

A solicitor can, therefore, help with complicated and unique situations better, but paying higher solicitors fees may not be necessary for people who want straightforward wills.

"If your estate is complicated, then you may need to get legal help and support from solicitors rather than only using will writing services."

When do I need to get help from a solicitor to write my will?

If your estate is complicated, then you may need to get legal help and support from solicitors rather than only using will writing services. Specific situations in England and Wales include where:

  • You are a business owner and are planning on passing the business on in your will
  • You share your property with someone you are not married to or in a civil partnership with
  • Your estate is worth over the inheritance tax threshold (£325,000 for a single person)
  • Some of your assets are abroad, such as a second home
  • You have children from a previous marriage who you want to inherit
  • You want to make arrangements for children or family members with a disability who needs care
  • You intend to create trusts in your will, such as for your children or your partner
  • You think your will might be contested by family members left out of the will
  • Your main home is not in the UK

What are the advantages of making a will online?

There are lots of reasons to use online will making services, instead of solicitors or doing it yourself:

  • These services are often cheap or free, especially in comparison to using a solicitor
  • The process is tailored for you, so, for example, you can get mirror wills or help from a solicitor through the website
  • Lots of different companies offer the service
  • The process is quick and easy
  • They may be regulated through the Institute of Professional Willwriters or the Society of Will Writers
  • You can get a subscription, so it is easy to change your will
online will service

What are the disadvantages of using an online will writing service?

However, you should be cautious before relying on these services:

  • The experts involved are not normally lawyers so have less legal experience, so may not be able to help answer legal questions or give advice on estate management
  • Solicitors can offer multiple services beyond will writing so it may be easier to use the same one for probate, to get an LPA etc.
  • There is more likely to be errors than if you get legal help, which can lead to difficulties for your executors in the probate process several years later
  • Hidden costs, such as for an updates service if you need to change the information in your will
  • None of the services are regulated by the Solicitor Regulation Authority
  • Will writing services takes less responsibility for the will s than a solicitor would. If things go wrong it is hard to get compensation, as the responsibility is on you.

What do I need to put in my will?

  • An online will service usually works by asking you simple questions about your estate and what you want to happen. This will include:
  • Your personal details
  • All your bank accounts and property
  • Who you want to be the executor or executors of your estate. These are the people who will complete the probate process.
  • Who you want to be the beneficiaries of your estate, including children and charities
  • The witnesses of your will and their details
  • If you have children under 18 or pets, who you want to be their guardian
  • Gifts you want to leave in your will
  • Funeral wishes and money for this

How are online will writing services accredited?

Will writers may be accredited by the Institute of Professional Willwriters, the Society of Will Writers, and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

All of these bodies have approved codes of practice, a complaints procedure, and dispute resolution. The first two also have professional indemnity insurance, which is important so if something goes wrong, you can get compensation.

create a will online

What happens after I create a will online?

After you have used an online will writing service, you can often pay a fee to get an expert who reviews the complete document for errors. You then need to print your will so you can sign it in the presence of two witnesses before you find a secure place to store your will.

Who can witness my will?

A witness has to be over 18. They also cannot be one of the beneficiaries of your will, or married or in a civil partnership with one of your beneficiaries.

What other fees will I have to pay with an online will?

Many services will be either initially free or very cheap, however, there will be additional charges on top of the start fee which are how they make their money. These can include:

  • A subscription fee you have to pay every year, which may allow you to update your will
  • Storage services, including if they store it on their website
  • To get services where a solicitor or specialist reviews your will to make sure it is valid and reflects your wishes
  • To get access to a helpline where you call an expert to ask questions and get advice
  • If you need them to get them to print and physically send the complete documents to you, rather than printing them yourself

Where do I store my will?

Will writers may charge extra to store your will. In England and Wales, you can store your will with the Probate Service for a fee. In Northern Ireland, you can deposit your will with the Probate Office.

Can I make an online will without an email address?

While most online services will need an email address, many services also let you make a will by making a call to a specialist on the phone. The specialist will listen to what you want to go into your will, then write a will up for you after the call.

What are the best will making options for married couples?

There are four main options available for married couples and civil partners:

  • Make two separate wills, which can include trusts to provide for the other partner, like for the family home
  • Make mirror wills where both spouses make wills on the same terms. For example, both people leave all their property to the other first, then after that, they leave everything to their children.
  • Make a mutual will where both people make wills, either jointly or separately but there is a legally binding agreement not to revoke the will
  • Make a joint will, where the couple make one will together

Can I create an online will if I already have a will?

You can still create and execute a new online will if you already have a will and want to change it. You have to destroy the earlier will and state in the new will that it supersedes the old will.

What is a living will?

You can also get a living will online. This is otherwise called an advance healthcare directive and is a document that lays out your medical wishes for if you lose capacity. You should get legal advice on this.

How do I choose between online will writing services?

Before making your will online, you should get a quote from different services and consider what they can offer you. You should look at the details of the quote and whether the services are regulated by the Institute of Professional Will Writers, the Society of Will Writers, or the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Article author

Katy Davies

I am a keen reader and writer and have been helping to write and produce the legal content for the site since the launch.   I studied for a law degree at Manchester University and I use that theoretical experience, as well as my practical experience as a solicitor, to help produce legal content which I hope you find helpful.

Outside of work, I love the snow and am a keen snowboarder.  Most winters you will see me trying to get away for long weekends to the slopes in Switzerland or France.

Email – katy@helpandadvice.co.uk

LinkedIn – Connect with me

More Information On Writing Wills

What Are Will Writing Services?

Making a will is an important way to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death, and your children and loved ones inherit what you want them to.

Finding Will Writing Solicitors

Solicitors can help you draft your will so that it saves you money in inheritance tax and so the people you want to inherit your assets do so.

How Much Does A Will Cost?

The majority of people in the UK do not have a will. Making a will is one of the most important things you can do to protect your wishes after you pass away.

How To Avoid Inheritance Tax

Inheritance tax is a tax that is paid to the government on an estate after a person dies. However, you can legally reduce what you pay.

What Are Online Wills

An online will is quite simply whenever you make your will through a website. The type of services you get can vary, from a digital tool to draft your will, to an expert who reviews your will.

Getting Your Estate In Order

Estate planning involves considering what to do with a person’s money and assets after they are deceased.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online will?

An online will is quite simply whenever you make your will through a website. The type of services you get can vary, from a digital tool to draft your will, to an expert or solicitor who reviews your will.

Are online wills legal in the UK?

Making a will online is certainly legal in the UK, as long as the will is sent to you as the last step to be signed and witnessed.

Are online wills valid?

Technically, to be valid, all a will needs is to be made by someone over the age of 18 with mental capacity, signed and witnessed by two adults.

However, if you do not get the formalities right, your Will will not be valid from the start, which is more likely with online wills than if you use a solicitor. with experience in drafting wills

Do I need a solicitor to write an online will?

You do not need a solicitor to write a will, and often people can save money by doing their wills themselves or online. However, solicitors’ services can give you peace of mind or legal help and advice if you have a complicated estate.

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