Online Wills – the future or too risky?

Online Wills – the future or too risky?

When it comes to the subject of online Wills, there are many passionate viewpoints. There is strong support from many progressive professionals and technologists who consider the service to be an essential step forward in the futureproofing of the industry.

While others are more concerned about the online process and its ability to cover the intricacies of client wishes, as well as identity and capacity verification. has been pioneering online Wills since 2001 and has recently given its tried and tested system a modern, user and mobile-friendly upgrade that provides users with the same high standard Will output, but with additional customisation options.

But why offer an online Will?

Millennials are increasingly needing Wills – gaining assets, getting married, having children – they trust and expect to be able to complete a Will online, and preferably on their mobile phone. In addition, an increasing number of digital players are targeting Millennials in pursuit of ‘The Great Wealth Transfer”, where £5.5 trillion is forecast to be inherited by both Gen X and Millennials over the next 30 years, £1 trillion of which will be inherited over the next decade. The time to be reaching out to this market is now – before they inherit.

And if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we don’t know what’s around the corner. Businesses need to be flexible in the way they deliver their services and in a way in which their clients wish to buy – in 2020 that was the ability to buy immediately!

So, what’s the solution? In our opinion, it is to offer a quality, comprehensive, flexible, and secure service for straightforward instructions while at the same time generating leads for those more complex instructions.

Top 5 common objections around online Wills

Rather than list the many reasons why online Wills are the future of estate planning, we thought we’d put your mind to rest in regards to the most common misconceptions or objections around online Wills:

  1. “How do you assess testamentary capacity and undue influence in online Wills?”

The most common objection surrounds capacity or the need to ensure that the testator is not subject to any undue influence. Completing a Will online can offer that vulnerable person the opportunity to complete their Will in private. It can thereby reduce the risk of undue influence by enabling testators to complete a Will when they can, not at a specific time and place.

By offering a checked online Will, a professional can reduce the risk further by enquiring as to any unusual bequests or any changes from previous Wills they may hold – all of this can be done remotely.

A comprehensive online Wills system should also have a robust series of questions to allow testators to self-assess capacity and should enable them to refer to professional advice if they have any concerns in this regard.

  1. “Clients won’t know what they’re doing.”

If you partner with a comprehensive, quality provider to ensure the right level of guidance is given, then it is simple to produce a straightforward Will online. For example, Arken Online Wills harnesses Arken Professional’s intuitive, intelligent questionnaire to produce Will packs, which include the Will, signing instructions but also a plain English Will Commentary. The client is given the resource they need to know exactly what they’re doing. Legal language is explained in black and white in the commentary, so the client knows what they’ve created.

Additionally, you can choose whether to provide self-service delivery or a fully supervised service. It works the way you want to and what you’re most comfortable with.

But just imagine what you could do with the time you save writing straightforward Wills. If you choose the right provider, you can let your website handle them while you focus on the more complex instructions, as well as other essential areas of the business such as business development and client retention.

  1. “They only produce very simple Wills – a pure online process can’t cover all of the intricacies and nuances of family dynamics.”

A simple Will is very different from straightforward instructions. You’d be surprised by the complex scenarios that Arken Online Wills can cater for – from funeral directions to multiple levels of distribution. As long as they are not areas requiring specialist input, for example Trusts, complex distribution, multipart Wills, Inheritance Tax etc, then Arken Online Wills can handle a number of intricate requirements. One of the most common areas of feedback we receive from users is how detailed and comprehensive our Will packs are in comparison to others. And for those scenarios where the service is unable to cater to very unique or non-straightforward circumstances, an online Will service on your website can generate leads for more complex drafting.

Straightforward instructions can still lead to quite complex Wills but all done online, either self-service or checked by you.

  1. “They’re risky.”

Your terms and conditions are where you manage your risk. Arken will start you off with a suggested standard set of terms that you can adapt to suit your needs.

What’s actually risky, is not preparing your business to cater for the increasing buying preferences of Millennials – who expect, and trust, technology to deliver services immediately. You need to be thinking about how people want to buy in the future and prepare your business processes accordingly.

It is arguably far riskier for your client to fail to put a Will in place because they are put off by a perception of an expensive and time-consuming face-to-face process. This is particularly the case for the increasing number of unmarried couples, who could be seriously disadvantaged by the laws of intestacy.

  1. “I’m missing out on professional advice revenue.”

An online Will service will help capture new clients who wouldn’t normally visit a lawyer, such as Millennials. You then have the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with these clients – to cross-sell services throughout their lives as circumstances change, for example conveyancing, property trusts, tax advice, as well as more complex Wills. When it comes to costings around your online Wills service, you determine what you charge, so you can offer a more expensive, checked service if you wish.

Your time is then spent on more complex, more lucrative opportunities, on business development, on client engagement – all of which will positively impact revenues.


So is an online Will the future or is it too risky?  We would definitely say the future. Arguably, there is more risk in not having an online capability as modern consumers may be dissuaded from making a Will in the traditional way, they may prefer completing a Will on their mobile phone. And if you don’t offer it – someone else will. With many online Will providers disrupting the marketplace with their offerings, the increasing demand is proven – so can you afford not to offer the same?

However, If you have an existing relationship with the client, or with their extended family and friends, then they will trust you as their professional advisor to do the Will on your website, so make sure that the solution you offer is tried and tested, comprehensive, flexible and produces a great Will pack in the end. will soon be announcing new additions to its Arken Online Wills solution, further enhancing efficiency and business growth and meeting client demand. Watch this space…

For more information on Arken Online Wills,  please visit, email [email protected],  call 01732 867 792 or book a demonstration at a time to suit you here.

Written by Samantha Warner, Head of Product at

Transforming the global estate planning industry through advanced technology provides expert digital solutions for the private client and estate planning industry. Its solutions deliver business efficiencies and consistency across a practice, while enabling client acquisition through an improved customer experience. Built by private client solicitors, products are used by more than 500 firms including Legal practices, Accountancy practices, Will writers and Legal services businesses in the UK, as well as Trust companies in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. With 29 years' experience and more than 6 million Wills having been created using its products, today is a software as a service business offering secure, cloud-based solutions.

The Arken Product Suite

Businesses are turning to technology to enable change, increase efficiency and futureproof their incomes to suit upcoming generations and demand. The Arken product suite is designed for just this – to maximise productivity, provide interactivity and lead generation, and manage risk. It can suit any business process – whether instructions are taken virtually, in an office, remotely or via telephone. For increased efficiency, reduced re-keying and a delighted client, book a demonstration today to find out how we can help your practice.

Key Services

Arken Professional: A comprehensive, up-to-date and secure document generation solution built specifically for the Private Client Sector. Built by lawyers, its industry-leading software has produced over 6 million Wills. Arken Professional is the only software solution specialising in Wills that is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). All the products on this scheme have satisfied a robust technical evaluation and are from companies that are financially sound and offer strong customer support, giving you that extra peace of mind. Arken Intestacy: The new way to increase leads and grow your business remotely.  A handy customisable tool for your website that demonstrates the circumstances if your prospective client were to die without a Will – they can then fill in their details and ask for you to help protect their estate. Arken Online Wills: A secure, online Will service. Will packs – which include a client’s Will, a Will commentary, and signing instructions – can be sent to the client immediately or reviewed before delivery. Arken Acquire: A digital fact find and lead generation tool. A tool that captures data from your clients, which is then used in the drafting of key estate planning documents. Simply email a link to your client and they can input key information that seamlessly flows into Arken Professional for drafting. Arken Lifetime: Create Inter Vivos Trusts in a fraction of the time. Trust Referencer: Get the latest on tax treatments and specific Trusts. Access the most up-to-date information to generate a personalised report for your clients, outlining the tax treatment that are relevant to both Testamentary and Inter Vivos Trusts. Arken Anywhere: The power of Arken on-the-move. Access an offline version of Arken Professional that will synchronise with your account once you’re back online. Arken API: A seamless transfer of data and reduction of re-keying. Details shared between your case management solution and Arken Professional.   Dave Newick, Chief Executive Officer of, said: “We work in partnership with our clients to understand their key processes and provide the most efficient digital solutions for their Private Client business. The industry has begun its digitisation journey – it’s time to consider the best route within it for your business. Can you use technology to be more adaptable, more engaged, to provide a better customer experience? Can you use technology to automate low-level tasks, enabling you to focus on what really matters? It’s time to take the digital leap and benefit from the efficiencies it provides.”



Sophie Yates, Director, Fodens Solicitors Limited
“Arken is an absolutely fantastic tool. It is extremely easy to use and has helped our practices in Will drafting to a huge extent. I could not be without it now. I would recommend to any legal specialist looking to invest in Will writing software. Very cost effective too.”
Gemma Garen, Director of Quality and Compliance, Ellisons Solicitors
“We did a careful review of available solutions and chose Arken, as it has a very user-friendly and intuitive user experience, helped us with an improvement in our working practices, introduced time efficiencies and facilitated our ability to standardise our processes and mitigate our risks. The support team at Arken are excellent – very responsive and invested time to understand our needs. We had extensive support before and after going live. Arken is very easy to use, the templates are consistent and we have reliable support.”
Craig Webb, Head of Legal Operations, Brethertons LLP
“…Our staff have found Will drafting in Arken very easy to use and enjoy the questionnaire format which guides them through the process from beginning to end. It is very reassuring to know that our lawyers are all following the same process, producing Wills with a good level of consistency and that all clauses used are up to date. Preparing ‘mirror’ Wills is now particularly easy using Arken, and the systems’ intelligence to amend third person singular pronouns (he, she, his, hers), has eradicated these type of typographical mistakes. We have recently added Arken Acquire to our subscription and are looking forward to the further streamlining of our processes that this service can offer.”
Matthew Field, Director, SMR Solicitors
“We have found Arken to be a valuable tool for our private client team in terms of efficiency and consistency and we would highly recommend it to law firms looking for a professional solution.”
Eric Britt, Executive Consultant, Integrity Wills & Legal Services
"I have been using Arken Will writing software for a number of years, and have found it excellent, and easy to use. The support from the office has been exceptional whenever I have needed it, with a quick response and great patience at times. I would certainly recommend the software and also the company without any hesitation."

Contact Details

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Key Contact

Name: Jenny Lambert
Tel: (0)1732 867792 sponsors Today’s Wills and Probate Industry Champion Award