A member asked about 9 years ago

Online will creation

What do you think of this idea http://willing.com/ ..interactive online will writing? It's US but maybe it will come here or be usable here.

Val Antoff
Lawyer at Irdi Legal

I don't see any obstacles for a free service like this to be offered in Australia. There are already several paid online will assembly sites.

It is important to keep in mind that there are several aspects to estate planning and the drafting of the will is done after a thorough investigation by a lawyer of the client's circumstances. The question that remains to be answered is if the logic of such an investigation can be built into an online wills service.

I have included an example of the investigation process I undertake in the preparation of a client's estate plan.

An important step in the estate planning process is to ascertain what assets and liabilities form part of the client's estate. For example, some jointly owned assets or assets held in a trust cannot be gifted in a will.

Below is a chart with assets commonly owned by a testator.

One of the most important tasks for a lawyer advising on your will and estate plan is to identify key risks.

Examples include:

  • Protecting your estate assets in case of a financial failure
  • Ensuring that gifts to spendthrift beneficiaries are protected from creditors
  • Life risk
  • Marriage or relationshipbreakdown risk - a binding financial agreement may be suitable
  • Taxation issues
  • Family business retention

Below is a chart which gives examples of some of the risks and the potentially affected persons.

Answered almost 9 years ago   Legal disclaimer

Brennan Ong Christine Smyth
2 lawyers agree with this answer
308 robbins watson lr
Christine Smyth

There are a few cautions I would add to the delivery of wills online. Challenges to the validity of wills has increased markedly over recent years. The challenges often involve claims of lack of testamentary capacity, suspicious circumstance, fraud, and/or undue influence. Where a will is executed in circumstances where protective steps are not undertaken these challenges will arise.
Those challenges can be a very significant cost to an estate. Where you utilise the direct services of a solicitor many, if not most of those circumstances are removed or mitigated. This is because solicitors are trained to know what protective steps can be taken and they take them where the circumstances allow.
You should also beware that in certain circumstances, the online will provider may not be covered by professional indemnity insurance. In that circumstance you or the estate may have limited to no recourse where issues of negligence arises.

over 8 years ago

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