The Private Client team at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas shares their comments and opinions shared in an article in the following Q&A which was published by the Mint Newspaper on 28th April, 2020 and the online edition of the same can be found here.
What is the validity of online Will services? Are they enforceable in law? Also, if I am using such services, what are the things I should keep in mind?
Nothing can beat the quality and benefit of speaking with a good attorney and having a bespoke Will drafted for yourself. There are attorneys available at all price points, including those who specialize in these succession matters. If you can manage to do so, we would strongly recommend speaking to a suitable attorney in person and getting a proper custom Will.
Having said that, you can also consider online Wills. However, we would caution against blind reliance on online Will services, as they simply generate a standard questionnaire and use a template Will. Your unique circumstances and facts as well as queries are unlikely to be addressed. More worrying is that your family will come to realize these problems after you have passed away—so no remedies are possible at that stage.
While we cannot comment on the security of your information on these platforms, in our experience, these online Wills are sufficient for simple and basic estates. But they are not equipped to handle any estate, which has a degree of complexity, such as a brewing family dispute, ancestral property, NRI family members, complicated multi-generational family businesses, among others. In such cases, specialist legal advice is recommended. The consequence of something going wrong in your Will is that your estate may pass without a proper Will, and devolve as per law— this is something you should try and avoid.