Writing a will is one of the most important documents you could ever compile as it sets out your final wishes and ensures that those who are left to pick up the pieces are clear about how you wanted your estate to be distributed once you passed away. This can hopefully help avoid disputes. There are plenty of options when it comes to writing a will, from picking up a DIY kit to instructing a solicitor but Kwil is targeting the middle ground.
What is Kwil and how does it work?
Kwil aims to simplify the will writing process by letting users compile and complete the document in a four-step automated process that it says will take just 30 minutes. All you have to do is answer a series of questions about your assets and have an idea of who you want to leave in charge of your estate and where you want your money and possessions to go. The document is checked to ensure it is tax-efficient and is accessible via a secure login on the Kwil site 24/7. You can make unlimited amendments to your will for life.
All this aims to provide guidance on will writing but without the time and money needed to see a solicitor. You don’t need an appointment, just a computer and an internet connection.
What services does Kwil offer?
Kwil’s main advertising and marketing focuses on its will writing service. You can compile a free, individual or couples will and appoint executors and guardians as well as specify gifts or cash for certain people or charities. There is also an executor lockbox that stores important details such as account numbers, credit cards or broadband details and funeral wishes for whoever is managing your estate once you die.
You must be 18 or over, of sound mind and living within England or Wales. As well as will writing, Kwil offers services that let you apply for a lasting power of attorney, set up trusts and probate but this process needs to be started on the phone rather than online.
How to create a will with Kwil
This service is only available if you live in England and Wales as the will is based on the law of these countries. Before you start you will need to know information such as the value of your property and your assets such as your pension, savings and investments as well as personal possessions that form part of your estate.
The first question is whether you live in England and Wales or elsewhere and if you own a house. This helps set out the automated questions that will be featured in the will later in the process. You then have to create an account by entering your name, email address and selecting a password. This is the start of the four-step process.
- Step 1 - This involves completing your personal details such as your name, date of birth and address. It then gets a bit more technical.
- Step 2 - This involves naming trustees and executors. This is clearly explained so users understand why you may need a trustee such as for someone under 18 and the role of executors.
- Step 3 - This asks you to provide the value of your estate, this is what all your assets such as your pension, savings and personal possessions are all worth. It also asks what your property value is worth. Both these values are important as there may be inheritance tax issues if your estate is worth more than £325,000 and is being passed to someone other than your spouse. Additionally, there is a main residence relief that you can claim which currently takes up to £175,000 of the value of your property out of your estate for inheritance tax purposes.
- Step 4 - This final step allows you to provide your funeral wishes such as if you want to be buried or cremated.
You can set up your lockbox of important passwords and account details and set up gift or charity recipients on your personal dashboard. There is also a separate option to remove or edit details of people in the will at any time. Users can access the livechat throughout and there is also an email and contact number to ask questions to its support team seven days a week to help complete your will. You can also find blogs, guides and other resources to help complete the will in its frequently asked questions section.
Once the questions are completed the will is reviewed by one of Kwil’s team who can spot any issues that may emerge such as if a decision could result in an unnecessary tax charge or if an answer seems unclear.
After it is approved, the will needs to be printed and witnessed so it becomes an official document. You then need to tell your beneficiaries where your document is stored and inform any named executors. You can log into your Kwil account at any time to make changes to your will.
How much does Kwil cost?
You can create a basic will with Kwil for free, however, there are limitations. Kwil's free basic will does not allow you to add a substitute executor, trustee or guardian for your children. Additionally, a free basic will is not checked by a legal expert, meaning you are fully responsible when it comes to ensuring your wishes are met. It costs £90 to write a premium single will or £120 for a premium couples will, which lets you write a document where you are likely to have similar assets such as property but also to include your personal wishes. Payment is made once the will has been completed and you are happy to have it printed and signed. Any changes you wish to make are free for life. This compares with a cost of between £200 to £1,000 for a solicitor where you’ll likely need to visit an office by appointment. Any subsequent changes in the future are likely to significantly add to this cost.
Pros and Cons of Kwil
- User friendly - There is no complicated legal jargon, just simple questions and explanations to help you make a decision.
- Guidance - Kwil has its own blog as well as livechat and a contact centre that provides support on how to complete your will, explanations of different versions of the document and inheritance tax planning.
- Checklist for executors - Managing someone’s estate can be daunting but Kwil provides executors with a checklist of tasks such as registering the death, valuing the estate and applying for probate.
- Lockbox - One of the most time-consuming aspects of managing someone’s estate is finding all their documents and financial information. The Lockbox provides a secure location for all the important account details to be safely stored and accessed by the executor.
- Free review - Kwil’s experts will check your document once you have answered all the questions to ensure it is tax efficient. (Not applicable to free wills)
- Not legal advice - There are plenty of pros to this service. But a rather big negative is that this is not a legal service. You don’t need legal qualifications to provide a will writing service. Kwil even has a disclaimer at the bottom of its website that states it is not a law firm or substitute for legal advice on complex estate planning issues. An automated online will may be suitable for most people with simple estates but there is a risk that if your setup is complex, someone without legal qualifications may miss a potential error that could result in a tax or legal challenge. If a will is completed by a law firm then they can be held responsible for mistakes by the Legal Ombudsman but a will-writing service has no liability.
- Not financial advice - Similar to the above, will writing isn’t regulated. But there are some aspects that may require regulated financial advice such as inheritance tax or estate planning. It may be best to get a financial adviser to help with this before writing a will to avoid any costly errors that could leave your estate with unnecessary and avoidable tax charges.
Kwil customer reviews?
Kwil has around 700 reviews on Trustpilot and is rated 4.9 out of 5.0. The majority, 99%, rate the service as excellent or great. There are only a couple of negative reviews, one citing a bug in the system that didn’t let them enter the correct number of beneficiaries and another querying how secure payments are. Kwil said its payment system is secure. It is also worth bearing in mind that issues may not emerge until the user dies and their will is accessed, by which point it could be too late.
Kwil vs Solicitor wills
A will can be completed with Kwil at any time from the comfort of your own home online. In contrast, you would need to make an appointment with a solicitor and probably have to travel to their office or take time over the phone to complete the document. A solicitor could cost up to £1,000 or more while Kwil is low-cost in comparison, starting at £90, but you need to weigh up the benefits of having a regulated professional check and advice on the will.
Kwil vs Farewill
Farewill is aimed at a similar market to Kwil. It provides online will writing but isn’t a regulated law firm. Its pricing is similar at £90 for a single will and £140 for couples. Farewill also offers probate and cremation document services. Read our independent ‘Farewill review’
Kwil vs Which? Wills
Consumer watchdog Which? offers a will-writing service but as well as England and Wales it also offers documents under the law of Northern Ireland and Scotland. It is slightly more expensive than Kwil, with a self-service document staring from £99 for an individual or £156 for a couple that you just complete and download yourself. This won’t be checked but there are prompts throughout the process to make you consider the legal implications of your decisions and you can phone their helpline with queries. There is an option that includes a review of the document by regulated lawyers at £119 for an individual or £189 for a pair. Which? charges a one-off £19 fee if you want to make a change to your will or £39 if you want it checked. This compares with the £10 annual subscription with Kwil.
A will is a vital document to avoid disputes over your estate and ensure your intended beneficiaries are looked after as you wish. It is important to do this correctly and Kwil* offers a user-friendly way to do this at your leisure.
One of Kwil’s selling points is that its wills can be completed in 30 minutes but it is important to remember that this is an important document that shouldn’t be rushed. If you have a simple estate then this service could be beneficial but those with more complex assets should consider paying a bit more for a solicitor to ensure everything is done correctly.
Do you need a will?
No-one likes to think about death but making a will ensures your intended beneficiaries are looked after and helps avoid any disputes. If you die without making a will then the rules of intestacy apply. Under these rules, close relatives such as a spouse or civil partner or child can inherit your estate but it can be hard for anyone else. This could cause an issue if there were certain assets you wanted to leave to particular people or if you had separated from a spouse or have children from a different marriage or those you may want to allocate an inheritance to differently. Read our article ‘Who can inherit if there is no Will? The rules of intestacy explained’
Parents should also make a will that sets out how they want their children to be looked after in case you both pass away before they are aged 18. A will is particularly important if you share a property with someone who is not your husband, wife or civil partner or if you run a business with others as this can set out how you want your share to be dealt with. Ultimately, setting out your wishes in a will makes your final wishes clear and reduces the risk of your memory being spoilt by disputes over what has or hasn’t been left. Read our guide to the ‘Best will writing services in the UK’