Farewill

Below are the answers given by Farewill in the Will Writing Survey, which you can use to compare to others.

How is your service delivered

  • Online / mobile

Service description
Farewill is a digital will writing company that specialises in legacy fundraising. We offer an online will-writing service which helps make writing a will simple and affordable. We work with charities to provide your supporters a free will product they can complete online in minutes, on their phone, tablet or desktop. There is live chat and phone support on hand 7 days a week, and all our wills are checked by hand by our team of will specialists before they can be printed, signed and witnessed to make them legally binding.
 We provide customised landing pages and an optimised legacy message to maximise legacy gifts, and bespoke real-time reporting dashboards so you can prove results and know when to scale campaigns. Every charity partner has a dedicated account manager and we share insights, templates and other bespoke marketing support to help you make the most of your campaigns.

In what ways do you assess your clients’ mental capacity?
We have implemented numerous processes and steps within our service to safeguard against potential mental incapacity.

To complete a will using Farewill:

  1. Customers must register online with an email address;
  2. They answer a series of easy-to-understand questions with live support on hand 9am-7pm 7 days a week should they need it;
  3. Once completed, each will is submitted for checking by one of our specialists;
  4. Only once the will has passed the check can the customer download their will to print & sign at home with witnesses (for which we provide explicit instructions);
  5. Our wills are always updatable and customers are encouraged to keep their wills up to date in line with recommendations from the Law Society.

Each updated will is again checked by one of our specialists before it can be downloaded.

There are three primary elements of our service that we use to safeguard against potential mental incapacity:

  1. Within the platform;
  2. The service delivered by our will specialists;
  3. Within the will itself.

Safeguards built into the platform

We store every iteration of customers’ wills digitally. The wills are encrypted, and data logs of customer interactions are recorded against each account (including timestamps, statements of truth etc). This creates an accurate contemporaneous record of all will submissions and updates. This information would be available for internal investigation if there were there to be a question of lack of mental capacity (e.g. for cross-checking with medical records or personal accounts). In addition, this information may also form part of the evidence were it required in the event of a Larke v Nugus request.

Verification that the customer is over 18 is built into product (‘rejects any age under 18), and this is reinforced by an in-product statement of truth.

Additional tests to assess mental incapacity:

  • Ability to use the service – site suitability only for customers who can use the site personally is made clear at registration. The statement of truth reinforces this;
  • Customer knowledge of the extent of their estate: within product customers must provide an inventory of their financial assets. This paints a good picture as to whether or not someone has understanding of the extent of their estate. The statement of truth supports the veracity of this information;
  • Customer awareness that they are writing a will: in-product statement that user is writing their will.

Our product is continuously reviewed and updated. Improvements are made on a weekly basis, informed by customer behaviour including user testing, interactions on with our customer support, and findings from the will-checking process.

Staff training and the role of our will-specialists

On the site we provide live specialist support via online chat and phone – this service is free of charge and available 7 days per week, 9am – 7pm. Whilst not obligatory, we talk to the vast majority of our customers. The full details of all online chat conversations are recorded in full and tagged to each user’s accounts, therefore preserving a true contemporaneous record. Phone conversations are logged against user IDs.

Will Specialist Training

  • The Farewill will specialists are trained in-house, with a training course that is designed specifically for the way we write wills.
  • The training course and final exam has been put together and approved by Farewill CEO, Dan Garrett, and Farewill Head of Legal, solicitor Lorraine Robinson.
  • Within the Farewill will specialist training course, the will specialists are trained in (non-exhaustive):
    • How Farewill wills are written, including the base clauses and precedents used in the wills;
    • The Farewill Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Vulnerable People Policy;
    • Who we can and cannot write wills for, and what to do in the event of encountering a customer for whom our service is not suitable. We can not write wills for the following groups of people:
      • People with disabled dependents;
      • People who want to set up trusts mitigating their inheritance tax liability;
      • People with significant estates outside of the UK;
      • People who lack testamentary capacity;
      • People who are blind, illiterate, or significantly visually impaired;
      • People domiciled outside of England or Wales.
    • How to identify for possible mental incapacity, identity fraud, undue influence, and the processes to follow in the event of ambiguity or concern;
    • How to support people via online chat and telephone, and the escalation procedure to follow should they encounter ambiguity or concern;
    • The Farewill Complaints Procedure & Refund Policy;
    • Processes and protocols for sharing information;
    • How to check the wills and contact customers once a will check has been completed;
    • How to feed into continuous product development and improvement based on interactions and feedback from customers.
  •  After the will specialists have completed their training (which occurs over a series of days and sessions) they have to sit an exam. They are not able to support customers via the chat or telephone, or check any wills before passing the exam.
  • Staff training and examinations are submitted and recorded for internal purposes. Training is reviewed and updated on a 6-monthly basis, and staff undergo re-training appropriately. Updates to training courses and material consider (non-exhaustive):
    • Any new developments to the product;
    • Any changes to the law;
    • Any other relevant developments (e.g. from our Head of Legal’s involvement with the Law Commission Consultation and the Law Society’s Wills & Equity Committee).
  • The live support we provide on phone and online chat is staffed with will-specialists 9am – 9pm. The software used facilitates additional standardisation of messages to customer enquiries. This provides a faster response time for customers, consistent message from the business on similar issues and reduces margin for individual error by intercom operator.

Will Checking Procedure:

  • Every completed will and updated will is checked by one our specialists. This service is also provided free of charge. We endeavour to check every will and update within a maximum of 5 working days, and it is not possible for the customer to download their will until it has passed our check.
  • Farewill will specialists must follow the Farewill Will Checking Protocol when checking wills. There are numerous things that the specialists check for in accordance with our will checking procedures: from circumstances suggesting issues of incapacity or influence, suggestions of financial or personal circumstances unsuited to an online service, to potential mis-spellings of names, or other ambiguities or concerns. Example checks (non exhaustive):
    • Date of birth – older people are at a higher risk of fraud, influence or incapacity;
    • Name and email address match – if the email address clearly belongs to someone other than the testator this must be flagged and the individual must be contacted. Farewill is only suitable for individuals who are able to use the site independently;
    • Disinheritance of partner or children – we get in touch to check if this was intentional in all cases;
  •  Where an issue is identified the will does not pass its check and we contact the customer – preferably on the phone. Where there is any question of identity or capacity we inform the individual that we are not the correct service for them to use and recommend they see a solicitor in order to write their will.
  • A will will always fail its check if any of the requirements are not met. If a will specialist encounters any ambiguity or concern they follow our internal escalation procedure, whereby initially a senior will specialist is involved, and then our solicitor and Head of Legal.

In the will itself:

Within the will itself we include Final Declarations around identity, capacity, and undue influence which state:

I declare that:

  • I am over 18;
  • I am mentally capable of making my own decisions about my will;
  • I am freely and voluntarily making this will;
  • I have considered all those persons I might reasonably be expected to provide for by my will; and
  • I understand this will and approve it as a true reflection of my wishes.

Organisational Policies and Procedures

In addition to the above, we have extensive policies and procedures as an organisation to protect the interests of our customers and partner organisations, including (non-exhaustive):

  • Farewill Terms & Conditions;
  • Farewill Privacy Policy;
  • Farewill Compliance Document;
  • Farewill Vulnerable People Policy;
  • Farewill Formal Incident Log;
  • Farewill Will Specialist Training Procedure;
  • Farewill Will Checking Procedure;
  • Farewill Customer Support Procedure (including the protocol to follow in the event of a customer’s death);
  • Farewill Anti-Harassment & Discrimination Policy;
  • Farewill Company Handbook;
  • Farewill Code of Conduct.

What processes do you follow to avoid undue influence?
Please refer to the above answer (relating to the safeguards against mental capacity), in particular:

  • Data logs of customer interactions are recorded against each account (including timestamps, statements of truth etc). This creates an accurate contemporaneous record of all will submissions and updates. This information would be available for internal investigation in the result of any claim of fraudulent activity, or form part of the evidence were it required in the event of a Larke v Nugus request.
  • Verification that the customer is over 18 is built into product (rejects any age under 18), and this is reinforced by an in-product statement of truth
  • The full details of all online chat conversations are recorded in full and tagged to each user’s accounts, therefore preserving a true contemporaneous record. Phone conversations are logged against user IDs.
  • Will checking training covers how to identify potential identity fraud and the processes to follow in the event of ambiguity or concern;
  • The will checking procedure covers checks including: Date of birth (older people are at a higher risk of fraud) and whether the name and email address match (if the email address clearly belongs to someone other than the testator this must be flagged and the individual must be contacted. Farewill is only suitable for individuals who are able to use the site independently).
  • The final declarations include ‘I am freely and voluntarily making this will’ and ‘I understand this will and approve it as a true reflection of my wishes’.

In addition to the safeguards outlined in the question above, we take the following additional steps to assess potential fraud / undue influence:

  • Every customer must create their own individual account with an email address. We do not facilitate joint or shared accounts. For couples we do not generate typical ‘mirrored wills’ (e.g. where one will automatically reflects that of another). Instead, couples must create their own account and will, with their own email addresses and passwords. We perceive separate wills to be essential for online will-writing to be robust against issues of capacity, identity and undue influence;
  • Each account must be created with a strong, secure password on which we provide extensive guidance;
  • Even for a free will service we insist on collecting card details record additional identifiable information;
  • We record email addresses;
  • We record time-logs of when people submit wills and will-updates;
  • Like any other valid will, wills written by Farewill need to be executed in accordance with Section 9 Wills Act 1837 including the requirement for two witnesses present at the same time. As with a will written by any means, the requirement for two witnesses is the ultimate safety check for identity verification.

What do you offer as part of your will-writing service?

No advice

Comments: Our priority is to remove barriers to will writing, including customer myths around writing a will. Therefore, whilst we do not provide specific legal or financial advice to customers, throughout the customer journey our product (both within the site itself and via our live chat and phone support available 7 days a week) provides a wide range of general advice on matters relevant to writing a will. Our general advice guides are always available 7 days a week, and at relevant points during the customer journey our product specifically signposts customers to sections relevant to their point in their will writing journey. If a customer raises a matter that we feel they require, or would benefit from, specific advice then our product identifies such complexities (either within the online customer journey or via our live chat and phone support) and our will specialists are trained in such circumstances to signpost those customers to an appropriate alternative service, such as a STEP solicitor led offering.

To what extent are solicitors involved in your Will-writing service?

  • Design
  • Drafting
  • Final check

Comments: We value legal experience and advice on every aspect of our product and our product has involved solicitors in its design from the outset. We own and control all aspects of our product, including the will drafting element of our software. Our Head of Legal, who is a STEP qualified solicitor and a member of the Law Society’s Wills and Equity Committee, is responsible for the content and quality of the wills we produce. That role includes: Maintaining, updating and further developing the clauses which sit behind the complex algorithms which create, on demand, a personalised will for our customers. Working with our in-house developers in respect of all other aspects of the product and customer journey to implement safeguards around capacity, undue influence and other risk factors such as complex and potentially disputed estates. Training, developing and overseeing our will specialists in their will checking and customer support. In this respect, day to day our business practices reflect industry practice (of both regulated and non-regulated businesses offering will writing services) whereby a qualified solicitor oversees unqualified staff.

To what extent are other qualified legal or financial professionals involved in your Will-writing service?

  • Design
  • Drafting
  • Final check

Comments: Our company is a unique blend of a range of professionals (solicitor, engineer, developer, charity and marketing specialists to name just a few) working together to bring will writing up to date and fit for the 21st century.

How does your service deal with complex estates (such as those with own business or property abroad, or a trust)?
As a business we offer a simple and affordable will writing solution. Whilst our wills are simple, we recognise that this is a complex area of law. We have therefore built our product to mitigate against the risk of customers with estates unsuited to a simple will from using our product.

In order to write a will with us, a customer must complete a questionnaire which precludes those with certain complexities, such as property abroad, from using our service. We also provide live chat and phone support 7 days a week, together with general advice on relevant issues available at all times on our site. Above all, a will can never be downloaded from us until it has been hand-checked by one of our will specialists.

Our will specialists are trained to identify complexities which make a customer’s circumstances better suited to a more personal or specific advice-based service and will advise customers to seek such assistance where relevant. In particular our fact-finding around estate composition and will checking processes are designed to reveal such complexities where they exist and our practice is to recommend a solicitor (or for particularly complex matters a STEP qualified solicitor) if complexities our service is unsuited to do arise.

Please see also our answer to Q6 (Which of the following do you offer as part of your will-writing service?)

Do you prompt your clients to consider leaving gifts to a charity? If so, how?
We prompt everyone who makes a will to consider leaving a gift to charity. We use insights from Remember a Charity and the Behavioural Insights team to normalise legacy giving and ask everyone ‘Would you like to include a gift to charity?’.

When a customer says yes, they are presented with a list of 16 charity logos. For supporters who have come via a charity partner, the logo of this charity will appear first in the list.

The supporter can then simply click on the logo to add the charity of their choice, and the registered name and charity number will be automatically added to the will along with the percentage gift they choose.

Supporters can also add charities not on the list by using our built-in search function, which draws charity names and charity numbers directly from the Charity Commission’s website.

The charitable ask is repeated later in the pecuniary section of the website where customers have an additional opportunity to leave a specific cash gift or possession to charity(ies).

To date, 24% of wills drafted by Farewill have included gift to charity (across all channels, including cold acquisition). 82% of these have been residuary, and 18% have been pecuniary gifts.

We have raised over £50million in pledged legacy income for over 450 charities since 2016 and are on track to reach £200million raised for charity this year.

What provision does your service make for secure Will storage or future access?
We encourage our customers to regularly update their will in line with their changing circumstances, following recommendations from the Law Commission. Our product is built to make this process as easy as possible.

A customer can access their will 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by logging into their Farewill account. They can make unlimited changes to their will, and every change is checked by hand by our team of wills specialists before it can be printed, signed and witness to become legally valid.

We advise customers to store their completed (signed and witnessed) will somewhere safe and let their executors know where it is. We provide information around how to store it safely at home and signpost people to the various other options for will storage.

We do not provide secure will storage ourselves.

There is an optional, opt-out charge of £10 including VAT per year for unlimited updates. The first year of updates is free of charge.

How is your service delivery regulated?
We are not a law firm, and we are careful never to suggest we are. Our service is a digital will writing platform and as such is an online consumer service and customers have access to our in-house complaints procedure, and in the event a customer remains dissatisfied they may refer the matter to the Consumer Ombudsman. We are in the process of obtaining IPW membership and expect to be confirmed members within weeks.

Comments: The regulation of legal services in changing, and as such any current analysis of regulation will be quickly outdated by those reforms. Looking to the future of SRA regulation in particular, we therefore confirm that whilst we are not regulated by the SRA our Head of Legal is a solicitor, and is therefore regulated by the SRA. In line with the upcoming changes the SRA are introducing later this year/next year aimed at improving public access to legal services (see http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/policy/future/looking-future.page) such a qualified solicitor will, when those changes take effect, be freely able to offer legal services from our business.

What formal protection have you got in place for your clients, e.g. liability insurance for will-writing or provision of legal advice, please specify level of coverage?
We have professional indemnity insurance to cover up to £2,000,000 and public liability up to £2,000,000.

Are you able to track impact and report on progress e.g. how many inquiries lead to Wills and how many include a charitable gift? How do you do it?
Yes. We provide each charity partner a unique link(s) (URL) and voucher code(s) so we can provide a bespoke journey for their supporters and acurately track their behaviour as they go through the product.

Charities distribute the voucher code(s) and/or link(s) through their preferred channels – from supporters and staff, to corporate partners, to warm supporters via email, social, post or TV.

Supporters click on the link to land on the site, where they are welcomed with a bespoke message about the partnership and the unique voucher code they need to reedem their free will.

At the end of the process, the supporter enters the unique voucher code to redeem their free will (the voucher code is auto-applied where a supporter has come via the link).

This enables us to capture and report on key metrics – from registration, to leaving a gift, to completing their will – and share this with charity partners through the bespoke, real-time reporting dashboard.

How does your product deal with / identify complex Will structures e.g. where legacy is 2nd death contingent gift?
Please see question 16 above (‘Are you able to track impact and report on progress) and 19 below (If working with a partner charity, are you able to provide monthly activity reports?). Second death beneficiaries are not deemed complex so we have interpreted this question to cover forecasting second death gifts.

All of our customers are prompted to consider a charity as a beneficiary of their will. Our end to end online service captures and reports on key metrics, including details of gifts and can identify any complexities in legacy forecasting such as second death contingencies.

We continuously work with our partner charities to improve our reporting dashboards to make sure they are as useful and informative as possible for the charity. We develop all the dashboards in-house, meaning we are able to make changes and improvements rapidly.

Are you able to determine customers demographic information e.g. an average age of your client?
Yes. We capture demographic information for all supporters who leave a gift. We capture and report on a range of demographics. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • age (in brackets of 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65+),
  • marital status (single, divorced, married, widow, engaged and civil partnership)
  • number of children

We use this data to provide meaningful insights about a charity’s supporters. For instance, we provide real-time reporting in the dashboard on the number of gifts made and the estimated value of those gifts split according to these demographic groups.

If working with a partner charity, are you able to provide monthly activity reports?

Farewill provides charity partners with access to a bespoke, real-time reporting dashboard. This dashboard provides partners with information on individual legacies gifted, at the point at which the will is completed. Farewill specialises in providing charity partners with access to useful, actionable, and insightful data to help them optimise marketing activity, gain internal buy-in and increase investment in legacy fundraising – maximising the charity’s return on investment.

Our reporting dashboards mean that charities can track tangible, meaningful metrics – gifts pledged, average gift sizes, residuary v pecuniary split – across different channels (print advertising, email CRM, above the line etc.), as well as on a campaign or message level (e.g. A/B testing messaging).

Our reporting dashboards have three parts:

1. Overall summary, including referral traffic and cold traffic. –

  • Total estimated future income pledged via Farewill
    • Timeline of pledges
    • Detail of gifts
    • Residuary vs. pecuniary split
    • Gifts from referral traffic (e.g. via CRUK) vs. cold traffic (Farewill own)
    • Average gift sizes
    • Maximum gift sizes
  • Engagement
    • Wills sold
    • Registrations
    • % wills with gifts
  • Cost of wills sold

2. Channel comparison

  • The ability to compare gifts pledged across different channels (e.g. TV, Facebook, PPC, email, corporate partners etc.) and campaigns.

3. Donor demographics

  • Age demographics
  • Number of children
  • Marital status

We continuously work with our partner charities to improve our reporting dashboards to make sure they are as useful and informative as possible for the charity. We develop all the dashboards in-house, meaning we are able to make changes and improvements rapidly.