You can find just about anything online these days and that include wills and estate planning documents. It can be very tempting to create your will online. It’s a quick process, you can do it from the comfort of home, and it costs less than an attorney drafted last will and testament.
However, online wills are not the right choice for everyone and may be more expensive in the long run.
Here are three of our concerns with online wills.
3 Considerations Before Completing An Online Will
1. It’s a generic document. Online wills are generic forms that may not meet your needs. The rigid wording may make it impossible to properly manage your assets or have your last wishes fulfilled. These generic forms are not a good option if you own a small business, or if you have a complicated family tree involving re-marriages, stepchildren, properties in multiple states, or if you think someone might contest your will.
2. It’s easy to overlook important details. Since online wills are so generic, anyone who uses one runs the risk of missing important details specific to their own situation. Meeting face-to-face with a wills and trusts attorney will ensure all of the relevant questions are asked and the details specific to your life are included in the will.
3. It may not be valid. Most jurisdictions have specific requirements regarding the language contained in wills and how they are to be executed. With 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, it is critical that the will be valid in the jurisdiction in which it was executed. If the will is not valid your estate will be treated as if there is no will and property will be divided according to the intestate laws of your state rather than your will.
The point of creating a will is to protect your loved ones and help manage your assets upon your death. While do-it-yourself wills may appear to offer you a way to accomplish this task on your own, this is definitely a buyer beware and a “you get what you pay for” type of situation. Online wills are generalized to meet the needs of the most people possible. That means they may not accomplish your specific objectives; they are not a suitable substitute for an estate plan.