This is our policy on accidental and intentional misuse of Bequeathed that addresses unsuitability of the service for certain user circumstances, undue influence on a user, testamentary capacity of a user and attempted fraud by a user.
Bequeathed is a modern, technology-led means of making your will. Our systems, processes and people not only provide you with the help and support you may need, but they also help guard against the misuse of Bequeathed, whether such misuse is intended or not.
The circumstances in which you should not use Bequeathed are set out below as well as at the beginning of the online will interview. If you are in any doubt, then you should contact us.
If you are being helped by someone else to make your will but are uncomfortable with what they are suggesting or asking you to do or you are unsure about the legal effect of making a will, then you should contact us.
The Bequeathed self-service option is not suitable in the following circumstances and you must choose the option of law firm advice:
If one of the above applies, then our self-service option will not be suitable and you must choose the option of law firm advice or seek alternative professional advice.
Ideally you should take the online will interview by yourself or through a professional on your behalf (such as one of our selected law firms).
However, we understand that you may turn to loved ones for advice and assistance with making your will. We also understand that if you are part of a couple then you might wish to draft your wills with each other.
If someone is assisting you, it is important that the will is entirely your own. No one else has the right to influence you in any way.
The most important points relating to the risk of undue influence are also dealt with in the online interview itself, including at the outset of the interview.
Anyone creating a will must have the mental capacity to do so. Generally, mental capacity is the ability to make decisions for yourself, but in the context of making a will it also requires you to be able to understand the legal significance of your decisions.
We provide guidance on testamentary capacity here. We understand it might be a difficult issue for you or for those helping you but we understand about capacity so you should contact us if you are at all unsure.
Our online will interview contains a specific section that ensures that every user, irrespective of age, addresses issues that may impact capacity, such as illness or recent trauma. But don’t worry, that section consists of simple Yes-or-No questions designed to make sure you are aware of the issue. You won’t be asked for any details whatsoever.
Depending on your age, we may present you with a specific piece of guidance that helps you consider whether you should get approval of your will from a medical practitioner. Please don’t take it personally if you are asked these questions: they are there to safeguard your interests. They stem from a well-known rule amongst solicitors known as the Golden Rule. All questions in the online will interview are also linked to the guidance we provide on these issues.
If you or the people you trust are of the opinion that you should get such approval, then you should write to your medical practitioner. Of course, if you are in any doubt then select our law firm advice option.
Bequeathed addresses the needs of blind and illiterate testators with a conditional attestation clause generated by the interview if you declare that you are blind or unable to read.
The attestation is a formal statement that the will has been read over to you and it is good practice for that to be done in the presence of witnesses.
Whether someone creates a will with Bequeathed or uses their own solicitor, professional will-writer or an off-the-shelf paper will pack, they will need to go through the same process to execute it: they will need to sign it in front of independent witnesses who verify that the person making the will is who they say they are. In the event the will is later challenged, those witnesses may be contacted.
If, despite the risk of discovery when the will is presented to witnesses at execution, someone’s intention is to try and use Bequeathed to commit a fraud, then they should be aware that they cannot download a will from Bequeathed without authenticating their email address.
We automatically track and record use of Bequeathed (always in compliance with our policies and data protection rules). We do this so that we can provide proactive support to our users in the context of what they are doing on the site. It also means that irregularities are more easily spotted.
In the event that a will created with Bequeathed is successfully executed for fraudulent purposes but later challenged, then our electronic records will likely inform any statement we are required to make (known as Larke v Nugus statements) before a grant of probate is issued and effect given to the will; a person attempting to use Bequeathed for fraudulent purposes will almost certainly leave an electronic evidence trail behind them.