Creating a will is one of those tasks that everyone knows they need to do, but few people prioritize. Perhaps it’s the inconvenience of visiting a lawyer or the assumption that it won’t be needed any time soon. Although life after you’re gone is an unpleasant thought, it is important to make your final wishes and desires clear to prevent confusion. Fortunately, making a will doesn’t have to be inconvenient. Let’s take a look at the benefits of making an online will.
First Things First: Are Online Wills Legal?
Online wills don’t always cross people’s minds because everyone assumes you have to go to a lawyer for that sort of thing. On the contrary, online wills are perfectly legal, and technically speaking, you don’t even have to get a lawyer’s approval.
Your will does have to be witnessed and signed, usually by 2 separate parties. We recommend that you check your state’s laws concerning legal witnesses before making assumptions, as every state varies a little. Some states allow beneficiaries to act as witnesses, while others state that witnesses must be unbiased parties. Regardless, you are free to create your own will as long as it falls within your state’s guidelines.
Benefits of Creating an Online Will
Now that you know you can make an online will, the question changes to, “Should you?” As technology advances, it has made the will-making process far easier and quicker than ever before. Online wills provide numerous advantages, including the following 6 benefits.
Creating an online will is cost-effective.
Depending on the lawyer, sitting down in an office and creating a will can cost up to hundreds of dollars in fees. Most people don’t have that type of petty cash lying around, which is why it’s nice to have options. Cost-effectiveness is a huge benefit of creating an online will. Generally speaking, you can purchase a template for $30-$50, saving you tons of money in the long run.
We must note here that the old saying, “You get what you pay for,” usually rings true, even when referring to a will template. If you stumble across a template that costs nickels, be wary of its overall quality. Make sure you purchase a template from a reputable, trustworthy company.
You can choose from a list of existing templates.
When you create your will online, you don’t have to start from scratch. Naturally, every individual has different needs and assets, which means there is no “one size fits all” template. The ability to purchase a pre-existing template allows you to find one that works for you specifically. Make the process easy by allowing someone else to figure out what you need.
You can create an online will based on your schedule and convenience.
No time to schedule a long, middle-of-the-day appointment with your lawyer? No problem. Creating a will online means you can choose a time and place (namely, your home!) that works best for your schedule. We certainly don’t recommend putting off writing your will any longer than you need to, but it is nice to have the extra flexibility.
You can still ask for an attorney’s opinion.
Just because you choose to create an online will doesn’t mean you have to do it entirely alone. If you prefer to, you can. However, in many cases, it is helpful to let a lawyer lay eyes on your will. This simply ensures that you covered everything important and that your desires will hold up in court after you pass. Ask your lawyer if it’s possible for them to proof your will before signing.
Online storage of your will makes later access easy.
If you create your will online, you’re already set to store it online as well. Storing a copy of your will online, as well as the location of your will, makes life easier for loved ones down the road. If they know where to locate your online will, no one is left questioning if you had one or where it is. Just make sure to tell your family where to find it, or where you chose to register it.
You can make adjustments and ensure your will says exactly what you mean.
The beauty of the online format is that it is remarkably easy to make edits and adjustments. You should update your will after every major life event (marriage, divorce, job change, children, etc.), and an online will makes doing just that a very simple process.
Additional Tips for Creating an Online Will
If you choose to create your own online will, it is important that you go about it the right way. We recommend that you take the following steps to ensure the process is quick, smooth, and legal.
Do plenty of research.
Make sure you take the time to research your situation. Confusion often occurs when an individual accidentally leaves something major out of their will. Evaluate your assets and financial situation to determine exactly what to address within your will.
Select the perfect template.
Once you get a pretty good idea of what needs to go in your will, take the time to choose a high-quality template. Look for an expert on the topic, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
Get a second (and third) pair of eyes.
Always let someone else read through your will. Often, others catch mistakes that you won’t catch while writing it. Try to get an unbiased party to read through it. Make sure everything is clear and concise.
Check your state’s legal requirements for a Last Will and Testament.
Always make sure your will is in line with your state’s laws. Generally, the laws of the state where you sign the will are the laws that will be considered after your passing.
Run the finished product by your lawyer.
If possible, run everything past your attorney upon completion. This simply ensures that everything is ready to go.
What Should You Include in an Online Will?
An online will is no different than a physical will in regards to the subject matter. Although individual wills vary depending on a person’s relationships, assets, financial situation, etc., almost all wills (including online versions) address the following items.
- Personal Bank Accounts
- Personal Assets
- Family Heirlooms
- Stocks, Bonds, Property Titles, etc.
- Guardianship of Minor Children
- Caretakers of Pets