So, you’ve decided it’s time to make a will. It’s an important step in a person’s life though it may be difficult to think about. After all, we’re talking about how to divide your estate and assets after you pass away.
It’s not always a clear cut affair and those with bigger estates and complicated family matters and relationships might need to consider the difference between writing up a will or establishing a trust. If you’re unsure of the difference, read this article, where we go over every detail.
But for the average person, writing up a will is not a complicated affair. Nowadays there are plenty of options and resources out there that make the process so much easier than ever before. But should you trust online will makers with such a delicate legal affair? Today, we’re going to find out.
If at the end you decide that this is the best option for you, we’ve put together a list of the best online will makers right here!
What Is an Online Will Maker?
Contacting and working with an attorney for the purpose of making a will or a trust can be a costly experience for some individuals. By going the online route you might be able to save quite a bit of money depending on the type of service you pick and how many bells and whistles you want from a website.
You will be required to go through a series of questions in order to fill it in. If you have technical issues, most (good) will makers will have either a FAQ page or will give you the ability to contact support via email, online chat, or hotline. If you need help from an attorney you might need to pay extra but it’s always nice to have that option available.
Wills need to be updated with every major life event such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, a large purchase or a new business entity. The very best online will creators will allow you to update your will for a period of time after your initial sign-up.
Once you’re done you can print and sign your document. In most cases, you’ll also receive help with how to make your documents legally binding.
Are Online Wills Legitimate?
One of the biggest reasons as to why people generally avoid will makers is because they’re worried they might not be legitimate. And it’s understandable, you don’t want to leave such delicate matters up in the air, so ensuring that your documents are on the up and up is an important step in the process.
The issue is that finding the right company or website could become a little bit confusing, so you should always read the fine print of the company to ensure it’s compliant with your state. They will more than likely also provide you with information as to how to make your documents legitimate.
More often than not, these companies also work with lawyers, so you can always reach out to them with any comments, questions, or concerns- often for a small fee. Each state is governed by a different state set of rules, so if you have family or friends living out of state that have encouraged you to use a specific company, do your due diligence and research them first.
Do You Need More Than an Online Will Maker?
Online will makers are best for those who do not have complicated affairs, assets, and estates. Say, for example, you only have one beneficiary and you want to leave everything, even if it includes a small business, to them. Situations similar to that could benefit from online will making.
Individuals with more complicated familial situations would be better off contacting an attorney. For example, if you’ve had multiple marriages, if you own a multitude of physical assets in different states, if you own a business and if you have stepchildren then online will making might not be enough for you. In that case, you might even want to consider creating a revocable living trust anyway.
Furthermore, if you are expecting certain people to contest your will then, again, it might be better for you to go about it the old fashioned way. Attorneys can customize your will in such a way that it will be very difficult to contest.
All in all, you have to look at the bigger picture before you make a decision.
How Does an Online Will Maker Work?
Making an online will is actually pretty simple and most websites make it so that it’s very difficult to mess up. In between help desks and guides, you should be able to do it pretty easily in the comfort of your own home.
Basically, you’ll have to fill a template with the relevant information which will include your assets, beneficiaries, a guardian for children, pets, and even elderly parents, your power of attorney, a trustee, and an executor that will ensure your wishes will be followed.
Most of these websites offer more than one type of document. You can also create a trust, health care directive, a letter to survivors, financial power of attorney, and final arrangements. Just keep in mind that all of these require different types of information in order for them to become legally binding.
What to Do After You Make Your Will
Once you’re done filling in all the necessary information you will likely have to download and print your documents. The site you’ve used will more than likely guide you on any extra steps you need to take in order for them to be legally binding.
Now it’s time to store them in a safe place. The best option is to put everything in a safety deposit box from a local, federally insured bank or a credit union’s vault. You will have access to it with a key that will only be given when you present identification. You can also give rights to the contents of your safety deposit box to your power of attorney.
It’s a good idea to also store your will digitally in case the physical files get destroyed in a catastrophe. Furthermore, you should consider offering your beneficiary copies, but you should definitely give your executor a copy as well.
Alternatively, you can put all the files in a fireproof safe at home, which is also a great place to store other important documents like the deeds to a house or your insurance contracts.
What Are the Expected Costs of an Online Will Maker?
It’s difficult to say how much you should expect to pay for an online will maker as most of them are vastly different. You could end up paying $100 or you could get a free last will and testament, it all depends on all the bells and whistles that interest you.
For example, you could choose to pay a flat fee per document or you could sing sign up to monthly or yearly subscriptions. You’ll likely pay more if you want the possibility of editing or updating your documents in time, for example. As with many other services, the more you pay, the better support you’ll get if you need any help.
All in all, it depends on what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to pay. Even so, online wills are typically cheaper than having a will drafting up for you.
Is Paying for an Online Will Maker Worth It?
We think that using an online will is definitely worth it for those who don’t have complicated estates. Let’s say you don’t have children and you plan on naming your spouse a beneficiary. If your estate is small then you could just use a free will-maker and be done with it.
Essentially, the more complicated your situation is, the more you should consider just contacting a professional. Most people with large estates and bigger assets might even need to establish a trust, which is a more complicated process.
It’s not a bad idea to research costs in your area and then look at several online will companies to compare costs.
How to Choose an Online Will Making Company
If you’ve decided to take this step then you must next consider what the idea ideal company could do for you. What’s the most important aspect? Affordability? Easy of use? You might be more interested in the ability to contact an attorney if you ever get stuck and need help. Ultimately, it’s up to you!
Again, we’ve looked at a bunch of online will makers and made a list of the best 6 for specific needs. It’s more than likely for you to find one that is perfect for you among these six!
What’s holding you back from using an online will making company? Let us know down below!