Will Software: Making the Complex Simple

All legal sectors
29 March 2021

Genius is making complex ideas simple, not making simple ideas complex.” - Albert Einstein 

Making a Will is not always straightforward – it is difficult to future-proof such an enduring document against all the uncertainties of life. As a technology company that specialises in the private client sector, Arken.legal has dedicated its 30-year history to understanding and addressing key industry pain points and developing solutions that not only solve them but ensure they can be delivered as efficiently and consistently as possible, without sacrificing an inch of quality. 

Our legal and technology experts make it their mission to cater for complexity quickly – valuing your time as much as you do. Time is money – you don’t want to be spending it on repetitive tasks such as re-keying data or cutting and pasting within Word templates (and don’t get us started on the risk management side of things!). At the heart of the Arken product suite is estate planning document automation software – Arken Professional. This solution enables drafters to create complex Wills four times faster through its intuitive questionnaire, which auto-populates the document at the side of the screen as the drafter works through each section, with mandatory fields clearly marked. 

“What we’ve found is the major issue for practitioners who are yet to make the leap into digital is that they simply don’t trust technology – and especially automation technology – when it comes to complex instructions,” explains Arken.legal’s Head of Product, Samantha Warner. “But this is such unfounded reticence. Arken Professional can allow for the most complex of situations, including through highly detailed multi-part Wills. These provide for a certain set of Will clauses to apply in one situation, and another set of clausesif that situationhas not come to pass. It will even allow a 3rd contingent scenario to be catered for. The distribution provisionsare brokeninto parts, with the intention that according to the prevailing position at the Testators death only one set of provisions will apply.This means thatWills will provide for different scenarios that could be in place when the testator passes away. Substitution clauses cansometimesbe used to a similar effect, butthesecan become messy, overly complicated and repetitive. Multi-part Wills achieve clarityof drafting and allow for ease of administration as it will be clear exactly which provisions are to applyin a particularoutcome.” 

There are a number of situations wheremulti-part Wills can be particularly useful: 

  • Where aTestator has a disabled child,Part One of the Will could makea bequestforthe childswelfareif living atthe Testatorsdeath, with another differing setof provisions allocating the bequest elsewhereif that child is not then living.  
  • In contemplation of marriage: marriage will always revoke a Will unless thereis a statement that the Will is made in contemplation of marriage. However, it is possible to ensure the validity of a Willandbuild inflexibility with a multi-part Will. Part Onecould specify that it is made in contemplation of marriage andgive provisions which are to apply if the marriage goes ahead. Part Two could specify entirely different terms should the marriage not take place.  
  • Where it is desired that s.144InheritanceTaxAct 1984 be relied upon to allow Trustees to rearrangea discretionary trust within two years of death to enable tax efficiencies.Practitionershave expressed anxiety that this section could be repealed as itcan greatly reducetax revenues, so inrespect ofsome estates it could be prudent to allow for one set of provisions to apply in the event thatthe effect of s.144 is available, and another set of provisions to apply in the event that the section has been withdrawn.

The stated circumstances at death can be far-ranging and can, for example, extend to whether or not, the Testator is divorced, widowed, responsible for a parent,orliving abroad. The practitioner must be careful to ensure that the conditional aspect of each part of the multi-part Will is clear and non-conflicting, to the extent that only one part can possibly be effective at any point.It is usual for multi-part Wills to be structured into 2 parts but can be presented in moreArken Professional allows its users the ability to set up to 3 parts.  

If you're new to Arken, please contactinfo@arken.legal or call 01732 867 792for more information and to arrange a free trial to see how easy it is to incorporate the flexibility of multi-part Wills into your practice. Alternatively, please book a remote demonstration here.