Why have we created yourwill.scot?
Given the importance of having a Will, our aim was to design a system that combined ease-of-use, high-quality and great value to enable people to deal with a Will in their home using their PC, smartphone or tablet. At the same time they have the peace of mind, assurance and guarantees that comes from, one of the largest providers of legal services to individuals in Scotland, who are fully authorised by the Law Society of Scotland.
There have been many stories in the press as to the inadequacy of online Will providers. Please do not confuse yourwill.scot with such organisations. Why is this?
- Most of these organisations are not a substantially sized firm of solicitors and are not authorised by the Law Society of Scotland.
- The overwhelming majority of these organisations do not provide an individual, high-quality, expert review of the circumstances of their client carried out by a qualified expert.
- Most of these do not carry multi-million pound professional indemnity policies or sign up to a statutory independent complaints authority which is provided free of cost to all users.
- No Scottish organisation other than yourwill.scot has all of these qualities. And yet at the same time pricing is exceptionally competitive.
How do we provide the service at such a competitive cost?
Our parent organisation McVey and Murricane are acknowledged experts in providing legal services to organisations such as lenders who require volume service provision to tight service standards at very competitive costs. Since the financial crisis there has also been a tremendous emphasis on security, safety and delivery in a manner which is compatible with the changed environment.
The only way of delivering what appears to be a set of incompatible aims is to combine expertise and expert review with innovative technology. The aim of the technology is to carry out the administrative heavy lifting allowing the qualified lawyers and paralegals to use their expert skills in those areas where knowledge and advice really matter.
The expenditure of many hundreds of thousands of pounds on systems together with a huge investment in training have created an infrastructure that delivers quality legal services at great value, quickly and effectively. Our belief is that the provision of Wills and other documents important to individuals such as Powers of Attorney can be delivered using the Internet to enable people to instruct us in the comfort of their own living room but receive a service which includes a proper individual expert review. It is the use of technology to minimise the administrative elements that allows this type of service at such competitive costs.
Does the price cover all circumstances?
Our expectation is that our system will cover the needs of over 90% of users without the requirement for additional costs other than our MMiSafe option which is not mandatory.
In every case we will prepare your Will according to your instructions and send it to you for signature along with any further recommendations. However, the purpose of our electronic information collection is to ensure that we are providing proper advice. So, if our expert review suggests that your particular circumstances would merit a more complex investigation or Will then we will tell you and provide you with that option.
What might those circumstances be? Generally the existence of substantial assets or potential tax issues would be the trigger to consider a more sophisticated review. As stated above, our expectation is that less than 10% of our users might fall into this category. Even if that is the case there is absolutely no obligation to do anything further than utilise the Will which we will send you; but the choice will be yours if you wish to take the option of more detailed advice. We will always provide an estimate of costs before carrying out additional work.
Our process is aimed at people who wish to take advantage of an expert service which is based upon electronic communications thus providing a quality legal service at a modest cost. If your own personal circumstances mean that following the initial information collection there are issues that you wish to discuss by telephone or by a personal meeting then we would require to make an additional charge but we would always tell you upfront if that was the case.
If I make a Will does anybody have any rights to challenge my wishes?
The reason why a Will is so important is because it allows you to express your wishes. Sometimes these will follow exactly what the law would imply if you did not have a Will but, having a Will, makes dealing with your estate simpler, speedier and cheaper. All too often your wishes will not reflect what might happen in practice without a Will even though you might imagine that was the case.
Scottish Law provides rights called Legal Rights which can be controversial. In most estates these Legal Rights do not cause issues but we need to outline what is involved.
Legal Rights potentially exist whether an estate is testate (there is a Will) or intestate (there is no Will). Here are the Legal Rights which potentially apply no matter what your Will states:
A surviving spouse or civil partner and children are entitled to certain "legal rights" out of the moveable estate of the person who has died. In Scottish Law, heritable property means land and buildings, while moveable property includes such things as money, shares, cars, furniture and jewellery.
The surviving spouse or civil partner is entitled to one-third of the moveable estate of the person who has died if that person left children or descendants of children, or to one-half of it if there were no such children or descendants.
The children are collectively entitled to one-third of the moveable estate if the person who died left a spouse or civil partner, or to one-half of it if there was no spouse or civil partner. Each child has an equal claim. Where a child would have had a claim had he (she) not died before his (her) parent, his (her) descendants may claim his (her) share.
It is important to mention some recent case law and practice advice relating to these "Legal Rights". It is probably easiest to look at an example. Jim is married to Susan and they have three grown-up children Matthew, Diane and Emma. Unfortunately the relationship between Jim and Susan and their youngest child Emma has broken down and when Jim dies relationships with Emma have not improved. The terms of Jim's Will is fairly normal in that it states that everything that Jim has goes to his wife Susan and if Jim outlived Susan then his estate would go to his three children in equal shares.
When Jim dies let's look at the situation if he was survived by his wife Susan. The terms of his Will state that Susan inherits everything. However, his three children still have an entitlement to their "Legal Rights” That does not mean they need to follow up their claim and the vast majority of children in the circumstances will not pursue a claim. However, the recent practice and law changes state that they must be advised of their entitlement. So, in the case that we are looking at although Jim has left everything to Susan, the three children would require to be advised that they had an entitlement to share one third of that part of Jim's estate which was not property. So, if Jim's estate was £190,000 of which £160,000 was his share in the family home then that “moveabes” part of his estate would be £30,000. His three children would be entitled to share one third of this so the amount that would fall to be paid to the children if they made their claim to legal rights would be a total of £10,000. The two older children decide not to follow their claim for legal rights because they want their mother to have the benefit of all of the estate but Emma, who had fallen out with her parents, decided she does want to make a claim. In these circumstances she would be entitled to one third of the legal rights set aside for the children. This means that she would be entitled to receive £3333.
Now let's consider what would happen if Jim had outlived Susan. In these circumstances his estate will go directly to his three children in equal shares. Because Emma is already receiving a sum from Jim's will which is greater than her Legal Rights she has no claim to Legal Rights in this situation and the estate will follow the terms of the will.
It needs to be stressed that these circumstances where children claim Legal Rights against the wishes of the person who has left the Will are pretty rare. However it would be wrong not to mention this in the context of making your Will.
Do I need to know more about the technicalities of a will?
Information is always important. When we produce your Will from the material which you have given to us, we provide you with a link to a plain English explanation of the structure and content of the will. Necessarily some of the terms in a Will have to include occasionally dense legal expressions because it is a very important document. However our guide ensures that you can understand the content of the Will fully. One of the features of our process is to produce a one-page Will. In doing that we strongly advise our clients to read our guide which puts them in a position of understanding the technicalities. You can read that guide now if you wish by following this link.
How do I pay for the Will?
With the quality of service that is being provided and the relatively modest charges, we are able to keep costs low by asking you to pay by debit or credit card within the entirely secure process of providing information. At the end of our electronic information collection the final step will be for you to provide payment which is followed by an email confirming that payment has been received and that your information has been received by our system. We utilise the services of Stripe.com who are a major worldwide provider of online payment services. Again, we would emphasise that it is an entirely secure process.
Will I be pestered by people wanting to sell me insurance or other services?
Absolutely not! Your data is totally confidential and will not be shared with any other party under any circumstances. We are authorised by the Law Society of Scotland and we require to abide by all Data Protection rules including the "seven pillars of data protection". We only provide legal products. Many of our clients are referred to us by their brokers and intermediaries who are the experts in insurance and investments but recognise that their clients should have a Will. If you ask us for insurance or investment advice we will not provide it nor are we authorised to provide it. If you wish we will provide you with a list of names of organisations that do provide such services but consulting with any such organisations will be your choice entirely. We will advise you from time to time both on updates in the law in respect of Wills or that might impact upon or interest you. We will also provide you with information in respect of legal services that we provide. At any time you can opt out from either all communications that we send (other than ones which are required by law) or in respect of any particular service. Our position is to be completely transparent with you.