In an increasingly online world where many legal services are 'going digital', it is perhaps unsurprising that an app has been launched enabling a 'digital will' to be made. More and more people are using their phones to manage many aspects of their lives and there does seem to be an app for everything now.
A digital Will appears to have many advantages. The convenience of an app may encourage more people to actually make a Will, which is surely a good thing and the auto-updating feature would go some way to ensuring that the Will is up to date as at the date of death. Additionally, upgrades could have the effect of reminding people that they have made a Will and prompt them to review the terms to make sure they still reflect their wishes. I also think the emotional pull of allowing messages to be delivered at a certain time and the digital assets section will appeal to many.
What struck me as a potential negative is that unlike a Will made in a solicitor's office or by a will writer, where a Will made via an app, it is harder to know if the person making the Will has the necessary capacity to do so or if they are subject to undue influence etc. things that a professional will drafter is trained to look out for. However, the same is true for those who make 'DIY Wills' without consulting a professional.
For those requiring more complex Wills with inheritance tax planning advice or for those with difficult family situations, or of course, those who haven't embraced online living, a hard copy Will drafted by a professional is still likely to be a preferred option.
US legal technology giant LegalZoom has launched its first product since entering the UK market, a ‘digital will’ that it says will “revolutionise the way we think about and plan for our loved ones after our death”. Called Legacy, the app enables users to make their will on their phone, and build a “digital scrapbook” of memories and messages to pass on along too.