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“Hey AI, write me a legally secure Will template”

AI robot typing/ writing

A lot can change in 5 years – your relationship status, where you live and your plans for the future.

That’s why its important to make sure you are updating your will as well as your circumstances.  The government recommends doing this every 5 years to ensure that should it be needed, your will accurately represents your wishes for the future of your estate and your loved ones. That makes sense of course, but is there a way the process can be sped up, and also be cost-free?

We’ve been reading about the seemingly limitless applications of AI and were wondering if it could help us when drafting or updating a will.  So, we asked ChatGPT to generate a legally compliant template for a will for a resident of the UK, and here is what it suggests…

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Last Will and Testament of [Your Full Name]

I, [Your Full Name], of [Your Address], hereby declare this to be my last will and testament. I revoke all previous wills and codicils made by me.

Executor Appointment:

I appoint [Executor’s Full Name], of [Executor’s Address], to be the executor of this will. If [Executor’s Full Name] is unable or unwilling to act as executor, I appoint [Alternative Executor’s Full Name], of [Alternative Executor’s Address], to act in their place.

Funeral Wishes:

I express my desire for [specific funeral arrangements or wishes, if any].

Debts and Expenses:

I direct my executor to pay all my just debts, funeral expenses, and the expenses of administering my estate as soon as practicable after my death.

Bequests:

I give, devise, and bequeath my estate as follows:

  1. To [Beneficiary’s Full Name], I give [specific bequest, such as a sum of money, property, or personal belongings].
  2. [Repeat as necessary for each beneficiary and bequest.]

Residuary Estate:

I give, devise, and bequeath the residue of my estate to [Residuary Beneficiary’s Full Name], to be divided equally among them. If any residuary beneficiary predeceases me, their share shall be distributed equally among the remaining residuary beneficiaries.

Guardianship of Minor Children (if applicable):

I appoint [Guardian’s Full Name], of [Guardian’s Address], to be the guardian of my minor child(ren), [Child(ren)’s Full Name(s)], in the event of my death. If [Guardian’s Full Name] is unable or unwilling to act as guardian, I appoint [Alternative Guardian’s Full Name], of [Alternative Guardian’s Address], to act in their place.

Witnesses:

I declare that I sign and acknowledge this will as my last will and testament in the presence of each of the witnesses, who, at my request and in my presence, sign their names hereunto in witness thereof.

Signed by the Testator: [Your Signature]

Date: [Date of Signing]

Witness 1: [Witness 1’s Full Name]

Witness 2: [Witness 2’s Full Name]

I declare that the foregoing instrument, consisting of [number] pages, including this page, is my last will and testament.

[Your Full Name]

Date: [Date of Completion]

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So, the above seems to do a fairly good job – it appears to cover most of the bases. What goes where and to who.  Before you complete the template and check off ‘Writing your Will’ from your to-do list, it’s worth considering:

How complex is your estate?

If your estate is straightforward, with no significant assets or complicated family dynamics, a simple template may suffice. However, if your estate is complex, with multiple assets, beneficiaries, or potential issues such as trusts or tax implications, a solicitor’s expertise will be necessary.

Are there any legal requirements or considerations specific to your situation?

Certain circumstances, such as having dependants with special needs, owning property abroad, or being in a blended family, may require careful legal planning. A solicitor can provide personalised advice tailored to your unique circumstances and ensure your Will addresses all relevant legal considerations.

Do you have concerns about potential disputes or challenges to your Will?

If you anticipate disputes or challenges to your Will, such as claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, a solicitor can help draft your will in a way that minimises the risk of litigation and maximises the likelihood of your wishes being upheld.

Do you prefer personalised advice and assistance?

Solicitors can offer personalised advice based on your individual needs and objectives. They can discuss various options available to you, explain complex legal concepts, and provide guidance throughout the process. Sometimes, a seemingly straightforward request can need a complex answer. If you value the reassurance of speaking to a legal professional to resolve your questions a solicitor is the better choice.

How important is peace of mind and assurance of quality?

Solicitors are regulated professionals bound by professional codes of conduct, which includes obligations to maintain client confidentiality, adhere to high ethical standards, and provide quality service. Choosing a solicitor can offer reassurance that your Will is drafted correctly, legally valid, and meets your wishes.

Do you have time constraints or urgency?

An AI tool may offer a quick and convenient solution for those with simple estates and straightforward wishes. However, if you have specific deadlines or urgent concerns, working with a solicitor who can provide timely advice and assistance may be preferable.

It’s essential that Wills are signed and witnessed correctly, and there are no guarantees of this with a DIY solution. An AI generated Will, much like a simple Will writing service is likely to fill a particularly need – for those with straightforward and simple arrangements. However for a more complex situation, with family or your estate you will benefit from the expertise a solicitor can provide

If you would like any advice on updating or creating your Will, please contact our Wills and Estate Planning Team on 01256 320555 or email us at mail@clarkeandson.co.uk and we would be happy to assist you.

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