How to Create an Online Will for Your Estate: Even if You Don't Yet Have a Million Dollars

January 5, 2022

We’ve just rung in the new year, and our noses are still full of champagne bubbles. It’s probably an odd time to think about our last will and testament. It may be on your list of resolutions, though. Over the holidays, your children may even have told you about online wills. You may be wondering, are online wills legal? Will your children and grandchild inherit if you don’t have a will? And, if you don’t have a fortune, do you even need a will?

You may be planning to do your own will or plan to seek free legal advice for seniors. You could be thinking about how to make a will without a lawyer too, so you probably have many questions.

“Making sure that your Last Will and Testament is ready to go should be a top priority to ensure your loved ones are taken care of in case of the unexpected.” 

What a Will is and Why You Should Make One

A will is also known as a last will and testament. It is a declaration made by you to make arrangements in the event of your death. A will allows you to designate heirs or exclude a spouse or relatives from the legal succession. A will also allow you to order legacies or appoint executors. A will only takes effect in the event of death; it can be revoked at any time during your lifetime. 

Why should you make a will? 

Many reasons:

  • To decide for yourself which family members should inherit. 
  • What share they should inherit. 
  • To bequeath a particular part of your assets to specific persons. 

You don’t want your children fighting over your golf clubs or the family recipe book. You can make everything clear in your will.

“There are some situations when you may want to hire a lawyer. For example, it's best to get an attorney involved if you have a large estate or you are concerned that someone may contest your will or try to claim that you weren't of sound mind when you signed it.” AARP 

The Difference Between a Traditional Will and an Online Will

The main advantage of creating an online will is its speed and cost. You can create an online will at home by yourself, usually quite easily and quickly. If you require a will quickly, an online version can be a good option.

The advantage of having a lawyer handle your will is having their experience. Depending on the size of your estate and your own legal experience, a lawyer may help answer any questions you may have.

Here are a few basic types of wills:

  • Simple wills – are ideal for people with a simple estate.
  • A Testamentary Trust allows for distribution of assets but will go through probate, which can tie things up a bit.
  • Joint wills – this will allow a couple to inherit from the other in the event of their death.
  • Living wills – in the event you become ill or incapacitated, these wills will allow another person to make the tough decisions when you cannot.
  • Deathbed wills – are made at the last minute but can lead to disagreements.
  • Online wills are a reasonably new concept, and you should be careful about which online company you use. Not all Online Will companies are the same. 

There are even holographic and oral wills. Some wills may not be valid in your state.

“While online wills may be a good solution if you feel pressed to get your affairs in order right now, there are caveats to consider, especially if you need a sophisticated estate plan.” Consumer Reports 

You should always check with a lawyer about the validity of any legal document, especially one as necessary as your will. And, of course, state and local laws.

Creating an Online Will

An online will is a kind of template composed of various text modules. You click through a questionnaire, and your will text is created based on your answers. It’s important to note that your text is not checked, notarized, and not sent to an official body. That is something you’ll need to do when they mail them to you.

Whether an online will is valid cannot be answered in a general way and depends on your individual case and the laws of your state. Laws can change in your jurisdiction. If you rely entirely on a construction kit, the validity of your will depends on the timeliness of the provider.

“Rather than walking into an attorney's office and paying a high hourly rate, there are many online will options to help you create a will from the comfort of your own home at a reasonable price.” US News 

Having a Will Gives You Peace of Mind

An online will can be good support for your estate administration and can be good preparation. The more critical the distribution of your inheritance is to you, the more likely you should seek professional legal advice. And then don’t forget to keep your will and other important documents in a safe place that your trusted partner or whoever has power of attorney knows about. 

Is Your Will Up-To-Date?

If your will isn’t up-to-date, now is as good as a time as any to update it. Don’t be afraid to talk to your loved ones about death. It’s something we need to normalize in our society. We would love it if you would subscribe to our newsletter, where we send weekly emails with helpful and fun articles. Feel free to share this article with your friends and get back to living your best life!

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