At Stipendium we are combatting the stigma around Wills. We believe that everyone should have one.
Brace is here to help put this right.
We believe that all adults should have the right to a choice about what matters most to them for whenever the time comes.
Brace is an online Will service using technology that is trusted by over 2 million people.
For over 22 years, technology behind Brace has been the #1 provider of online Wills and Living Wills for England & Wales.
Everyone should have a Will, but it’s even more important if you are married, have children, own property, have investments or own a business.
Is Stipendium the owner of the Will-writing technology?
Can I make a legal Will with Brace?
Yes, you can use our service to prepare a fully legal Will that will be accepted by probate courts in England and Wales.
To make a completed document a legal Last Will and Testament (or Living Will), you should read it thoroughly. It must accurately describe your intentions and cover everything that you wish to be published in your Will. It must be printed and then signed in the presence of two adult witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the Will. You should gather your two witnesses together in a room and then declare to them that you are signing your Last Will and Testament. The two witnesses should in turn sign the document in the presence of you and the other witness. We also recommend that you and the two witnesses all initial each page after the document has been signed. Your witnesses must be adults and they cannot be a beneficiary (nor the spouse of a beneficiary). There is no requirement to have the document signed by a solicitor, or registered to be legal. Once it is signed and witnessed, it becomes a legal Last Will and Testament.
Do I need a solicitor to write my Will?
There is absolutely no legal requirement to use the services of a solicitor to prepare your Will.
The law requires that the Will is written on a piece of paper and then signed by you in the presence of two witnesses. Once it is signed and witnessed, it becomes a legal Last Will and Testament.
If you need legal advice, you should secure the services of a solicitor, but most people do not need legal advice to prepare a Will.
What different approaches are there to making a Will?
There are broadly three approaches to making a Will:
- You can go to a solicitor or professional Will writer. It is not very convenient and can be expensive, but you usually end up with a good quality Will.
- You can make a Will using a blank piece of paper or blank form kit. This is usually cheap or free, but often results in a Will that doesn't work when it goes through the probate process.
- You can use an online interactive service like Brace. The end product is often word-for-word identical to one prepared by a solicitor, but at about one tenth the cost.
How do I start making a Will with Brace?
To make a Will, you simply buy the Brace product. Once you have bought Brace, you will be emailed a unique voucher code and PIN number. Go to Stipendium.io and click on the ‘Redeem’ tab where you will see spaces to enter your voucher code and PIN. Once you have done this, go to ‘My Hub’ where you will see your Brace product.
Step through the series of 9 sections, answering questions along the way. We offer help on making a Will at each point through the service.
You then create an account for yourself so that you can update your Last Will and Testament if circumstances change.
Do you give legal advice?
Although our service was developed by a team of solicitors, we are not a law firm. We are not writing your Will for you, but we are giving you the tools to prepare your own Will. We do not offer legal advice for specific situations.
How do I make a Last Will and Testament a legal document?
To make a Last Will and Testament a legal document, you must print it and sign it in the presence of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the Will.
Once it is signed and witnessed, it becomes a legal Last Will and Testament. There is no requirement to register your document, or have it signed by a solicitor.
Who can sign as witnesses?
You must sign the Will in the presence of two witnesses. These people cannot be beneficiaries or have anything to gain from the contents of the Will (the spouse of a beneficiary is a poor choice).
Your witnesses must be adults and of sound mind. Friends, neighbours and co-workers are all acceptable witnesses. They do not need to read the document and they are not approving it. They are simply witnessing the signing process.
There is no requirement to have the document signed by a solicitor or any person of professional standing to make it a legal document.
Are there any other fees?
There are no other payments required to prepare your legal Will. You can have a legal Will in your hands for £119 with nothing else to pay, ever.
What other options are there?
If you wish, you can have your Will reviewed by one of our solicitors for £69.00. Most people do not need this, and would not benefit from it, but if you have selected an option such as "None of the above. Let me describe in detail how to distribute my estate.", then you may want to consider this.
Your Will must first be printed, and then signed in the presence of two witnesses. If you do not have access to a printer, we can print it for you and mail it out. The cost for this is £9.95, but again, most people do not need this option.
What about document storage?
We do not store physical documents, but we allow you to maintain an account with us if you want to update your document in the future.
The Will service costs £119. With this payment, you are able to prepare your Will. It also gives you unlimited updates to the document for life. You are able to print the document as often as you wish. You can download it as a PDF or Word file, but to make your document a legal Will, it must first be printed, and then signed in the presence of two witnesses. The online version is there for your convenience only.
Why should I use Brace to prepare my Will?
Our answer is different depending on what you are comparing us to.
The service is significantly better than a blank form Will kit that you can buy on Amazon or WHSmiths. These blank kits do not check for errors, allow you to do things you are legally not allowed to do, and rarely cover backup scenarios. They are actually the most difficult way to prepare a well drafted Will.
We provide the same quality documents as an estate planning solicitor – often word-for-word identical, because we use the same software that they use. We've just adapted it to make it easier to understand, and given you direct access to it. Therefore, you can create a solicitor grade Will, but from the comfort of your own home at less than a tenth of the price.
When compared to other online services, we have honest, up-front pricing that is better than any equivalent service. We also believe that we have the highest quality service online today. We have been in business for over 22 years, and never once has one of our Wills had an issue going through the probate process. We also offer best-in-class phone and email support if you get stuck.
Some other highlights:
Help text every step of the way
Every page of our service has additional help text to answer your questions. If you get stuck, send us an email and we can help.
Create your Will from anywhere at any time
Our service works on any computer, phone or tablet. Which means you can create or update your Will in the middle of the night in Timbuktu if you need to.
If you write your Will with a solicitor, it could be out of date by the time you get home. You don't face that issue with LegalWills.co.uk. If your circumstances change, simply login to your account, update your document, and sign your new Will. There is no charge for updates as long as you maintain a membership.
Professional reviews by a solicitor
Our service works for the vast majority of situations, but on occasion people have unusual circumstances and need the reassurance of a legal professional's eye. We offer this as an option.
Our other services
We don't just do Will writing. We offer a complete portfolio of services that will help you to plan your estate. We have the LifeLocker® executor tool, that allows you to document all of your personal details and assets, and MyVault™ that lets you upload important files. Together with our Keyholder® mechanism, you can be assured that the right information gets into the right hands at the right time (and not before).
Privacy and security
We do not store any information as plain text. We do not store Wills in our database. All of your information is encrypted on our servers. Nobody can access it except you and your designated Keyholders® at the appropriate time. Furthermore, we do not share, trade or sell any of your data with third parties whatsoever.
Why are your Wills so much cheaper than a solicitor?
When you write your Will with a solicitor, you are paying for their training, so that if you needed custom clauses written for unique situations, they would probably be able to do this for you. However, most Wills do not require unique new clauses to be written, and the vast majority of Wills are a compilation of known legal "precedents".
Most solicitors use Will writing software to prepare Wills, and we use that exact same software, but give you direct access to it. You should really be asking why a solicitor charges £800 for about an hour's work.
If you have unusual circumstances, such as a child with special needs, then you may need legal advice. But for the vast majority, you would be paying premium rates for legal advice that you don't need.
Is this service suitable for me?
We know of certain situations where we would recommend that you seek the advice of a legal professional. In particular:
- If you are a resident of Northern Ireland or Scotland.
- If you are involved in a matrimonial dispute, or wish to disinherit your spouse or children.
- If you have a history of mental illness, or the question of your mental capacity may be raised in objection to the statements in the Will.
- If you own personal property or real estate in multiple countries.
- If you are under 18.
- If you have complicated business investments (e.g. you are part owner of property or businesses where ownership may be challenged).
- If you have a large, complex estate and feel that you would benefit from some advice on tax reduction.
- If you need to provide for long term medical care for a dependent or a child with special needs.
- If you think that somebody may challenge your Will in court.
- In any of the above situations and in other more complex situations (the above is not an exhaustive list), we would recommend that you seek the advice of an estate planning solicitor.
Can I also create a Lasting Power of Attorney or Living Will?
The UK Lasting Power of Attorney system is controlled by the government. You must use the official government website to create the form, and it must be registered with the government.
Anybody outside of the government who offers a Lasting Power of Attorney service is offering questionable value. The government website does everything that you need, for free. However, the forms must be registered, and this costs £110. There is no way of avoiding this fee.
Go to https://www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney/overview.
Can I trust you with my personal information?
We do not store any of your information as plain text. There are no "Wills" stored in our database. All data is encrypted and can only be accessed by yourself, or your designated Keyholders® using your unique User ID and Password. The documents are generated in real-time when you click the button to compile the Will.
Note, however, that there are two circumstances under which your documents are made available to the team. If you choose to have your Will reviewed by one of our legal professionals, or if you select to have your documents printed and posted to you, then the software will automatically decrypt these documents as part of your instructions to have these services performed.
How secure is the Will service?
The service uses state-of-the-art digital encryption and security technologies to protect your privacy and security.
All data passing back and forth uses 256-bit "SSL encryption". This is the most advanced level of encryption available today, and it means that any information sent from your computer is scrambled in a way which makes it completely unintelligible if intercepted.
When you are on a secure section within the web site, a padlock will appear on most web browsers. This is your assurance that the encryption is in place and that you are communicating across a secure link.
Furthermore, our database uses an industry standard high security streaming-encryption algorithm known as "RSA" to encrypt all of your information before it is stored online.
Can my information get destroyed or lost?
We perform daily backups on each of our servers. Your data is never at risk if one of our servers runs into a problem.
Furthermore, physical protection of our primary systems includes:
- Fire detection and fire suppression systems with dry pipe pre-action sprinkler systems
- N + 1 redundant power supplies, providing dual power feeds and backup batteries, water coolant systems and generators
- N + 1 redundant climate control, providing primary and backup chiller units, cooling towers, and water storage
- Local network operations center (NOC) for monitoring all data center operations
- 24x7 monitoring and support of network connection and server availability
- 24x7 uniformed guard service with interior and exterior closed-circuit television surveillance
- Electronic access at all data center entrances, including biometric hand scanners
- Electronic key management systems and individually keyed cabinets
- As you can see, we take the security and privacy of all of our member information very seriously.