Equity Trustees: Will apps and digital options may create estate planning disasters
From keeping records of your contents for insurance purposes to protecting your car from hail here?s an app for everything nowadays – but an app isn?t the right solution for everything. That?s the message from Equity Trustees Limited, which warns that the rise of Will apps for android and iPhone, as well as the digital trend to supplement a written Will with a video recording, has the potential to create an estate planning disaster.
“Online Wills are bad enough, and people should always be wary of any service that implies drafting a Will is such a simple process that it can be done in a few minutes on the internet. But suggesting that an appropriate Will can be tapped out on your phone with a downloaded app is just too simplistic,” said Anna Hacker, National Manager Estate Planning with Equity Trustees Limited (EQT).
“While the apps stress that the structure is legal and binding, the most important aspect of making a Will is not the document itself, but the advice that goes with it because that?s what takes into account you as a person, the nuances in your personal relationships and your circumstances. With digital Wills and apps the advice step is missed – an app can?t detect subtleties or be proactive in how you deal with difficulties that might need to be dealt with in a Will.”
She urged those considering a Will app to look closely at the terms and conditions on the offering: “The developers of these apps are very clear that they take no responsibility for any changes in the laws or whether the Will app is appropriate to your own circumstances.”
Ms Hacker also recommended against creating a digital video recording of your Will or supplementary information to go with it, particularly services that offer a video Will, and promise to provide the functionality to make changes to update the video recording as often as you like.
“If you have a written Will and supplement that with a video Will or explanatory information in a video, there can be confusion as to which is the legally binding version. If the information in both isn?t identical, it may cause the written Will to be challenged – and even revoked.”