Is it Safe to Make a Will Online?

The internet is an increasingly central part of our lives. What was, as recently as the late Nineties, largely the preserve of students, “geeks” and the more technologically inclined is now a huge commercial animal, where fortunes are made and lost. It is also somewhere that people are now willing to share more information than ever before.

The content of websites has changed hugely in recent years too. The first websites were largely informational. Alongside these you would find forums, where like-minded individuals could chew the fat without leaving the comfort of their own homes. Then, retailers woke up to the possibilities of e-commerce and started selling through online portals.

The problem was that users didn’t trust e-commerce websites. Online fraud has always been a big problem and for a number of years the newspapers were full of horror stories of consumers being ripped off either by scam websites or by criminals intercepting confidential data.

Now things are very different. Banks and credit card companies have teamed up with online retailers to provide protocols that cannot be easily hacked. Many smaller sites send users to trusted third-party sites in order to make payments. Trust in transactional websites is justifiably higher than ever before and this is being reflected in the volumes of money changing hands online.

There has been a big change in the way that we use the internet too. Social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace encourage us to share more of our personal details than we would have ever considered ten years ago.

Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to make a will online and few people would have been willing to pass so many personal details to a website anyway. Now, under-thirties think nothing of pasting highly private photos on a website where thousands of people can potentially see them. Making a will online seems tame by comparison!

You may be asking, do I need to make a will? and the answer is… probably “yes”, if you want to know that your possessions will be divided according to your wishes in the event of your death. Complex wills should always be made with the help of a solicitor, especially if there is a significant amount of property to be divided. Simple wills, on the other hand, can easily be made using either an over-the-counter will-writing package or an online service.

Legally, in England and Wales, you do not need a solicitor present to write a will, as long as the document contains the key information and has been appropriately witnessed. So, if you process the document correctly and choose the right website, it is safe to write a will online.


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