How Does an Online Will Maker Work?
A will is a legal document that says where you want your possessions to go when you eventually pass away. This could be anything from donating your house to charity or leaving your three businesses to your favorite son. Whilst a will can technically be written on literally anything — literally, a candy wrapper — as long as it has your signature and non-family witnesses, online will kits are a little more credible than that.
How to Find a Good Online Will Maker?
Is the company legitimate?Your first step is to create a list of the most reputable companies that are legally recognized. This means scanning online will reviews to eliminate the known scammers, and using companies that have been operating for more than a couple of years. A shortcut for this step is to use the above companies as your starting point.
Using the best will writing softwareSome companies are easier than others, but they vary because they use different online will preparation software. If your priority is time, then there are many companies in which you can complete the will in under 15 minutes. If you want clarity, perhaps you have a slightly more nuanced will, then use a company that is known for being clear and mistake-free. Additionally, some will be mobile-friendly and some won’t be.
Free helpSome companies have customer service that helps you with filling out the document, and some do not. This can help solve step 2 above if you’re looking for clarity. Some companies also offer free revisions by an attorney upon completing your will.
Other legal documentsIf you have other legal duties, such as creating business contracts, lease agreements, power of attorney forms, etc., then find a company that can be your all-in-one online lawyer. These may cost a little more, but the convenience would be worth paying for.
Price and promotionsIf you’re down to a few companies and you still can’t pick, then browse around for promotions. There are lots of free trials and discounts around. Furthermore, it’s unnecessary to pay more than $250 for an online will. Many are under $100, so don’t be ripped off by uncompetitive companies.
Cover assets outside of the USAOnly some companies will be able to deal with assets located overseas in your will, as this increases the legal complexity. The features of your estate are important to factor in when deciding on the best online will maker to use.
RevisionsSome companies will allow you to revise your will in the future (often for free up to a certain date). This means you can adapt your will as your estate evolves. This may be super important to people who expect circumstances to change (i.e. they’re going through a divorce).
SSL encryptionA very basic step to ensuring you’re picking a legitimate company that will keep your data secure is to make sure all purchases and transactions are done through SSL encryption. It may also be worth checking if the company performs frequent backups of data on their servers and have sound security protocols.
Is an Online Will DIY Kit a Perfect Substitute for a Lawyer?
Online wills are not a perfect substitute for the traditional method. There are a number of reasons why opting for a traditional lawyer is a better idea, but it heavily depends on your circumstance.
A complex will or corporation
Tax avoidance strategies
A history of mental health
Are Online Wills Legit and Will Actually be in Effect?
As mentioned earlier, a legitimate will can be written on a candy wrapper, so long as it has your signature and witnessed by two people who are not friends or family. However, just because something is legitimate, it doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable and comes with no risk of being challenged or rejected.
Of course, the most legitimate way to write a will would be with the lawyer of Mel Gibson, or one equally expensive. Online wills lay somewhere in between the candy wrapper and the expensive lawyer — they’re valid, well-structured, and have little chance of being rejected if the will is relatively straight forward. However, a will created by a lawyer would have even less chance of being challenged.
An online will is certainly effective. The only concerns you have, are those outlined above around either a highly complex will, relationships, or if you have a history of mental health. Additionally, if you drew up a will using an unknown online will company that has little credibility, your will might also be less legitimate. It’s all a scale, but fortunately, legitimate online wills from reputable companies are good enough for most ordinary people.
Vis-a-VisWriting a will can be a difficult task, and we understand how hard it is to pick a company that fits your needs best. To help you make an informed choice, we created detailed side-by-side comparisons. We took the best online will makers and directly compared them to each other across several important parameters. In these comparisons, we don’t try to make the decision for you by declaring definitively which online will-maker is objectively better or worse. Instead, we recognize that every company is unique, and we analyze differences and similarities between the two companies, helping you make the best decision for yourself. In addition, we outline each company’s notable unique features that could affect which one you ultimately choose.
This LegalZoom vs Nolo Will Maker by Quicken comparison will help you understand how these two major companies stack up against each other in terms of the services that they offer. Read about the strengths and weaknesses of each company and decide which one works best for you.LegalZoom vs Nolo Will Maker by Quicken
Take a look at our Rocket Lawyer vs LegalZoom comparison to see how these two companies are similar and different, what each company has to offer, and what their advantages and disadvantages are. Our detailed overview will help you understand which company best matches your needs.Rocket Lawyer vs LegalZoom
Research and Articles
Read the articles below and learn more about the online will-making process.
This article explains the most essential terms for will-writing. It helps you to learn more about what exactly a will is, what it does for you and your loved ones, and why it is important to have one. Read our top tips for creating a will that covers all your bases.
Learn about why you need an executor and what their duties and responsibilities are. Find out if you can become an executor and whether you are entitled to any compensation for this difficult task.
Why should a testator create a last will? When should a testator create a will? Does a testator need a lawyer to make a will legally binding? Find the answers to these and other questions about a testator’s role in the will-making process.
In this article, you will learn about a holographic will. Find out if you can create one, if they are legal in the USA, if they are hard to create, and why people should create them in general.
Find out why people write a codicil and whether you should write one. In case you decide that you need it, learn how you can make it and whether it should a notarized.
For peace of mind, learn whether you should notarize your will and why you should get a self-proving affidavit. Read this article to find out how to get a self-proving affidavit and whether or not your state recognizes them as binding.
You will need to bring all the paperwork to identify your assets and beneficiaries. Your assets could include, though are not limited to:
- Deeds to property or real estate
- Vehicle titles
- Checking or savings account statements
- Documentation proving ownership of a business
- Stocks and bonds
- Documents certifying the value of jewelry and art
Why a Paid Online Will Maker Trumps a Free Online Will Maker?
The phrase “you get what you pay for” isn’t always true, but what is true is that there is no free lunch. Online will kits are already cheap. But the money you do pay goes towards the online will’s legal team, estate planning abilities (software, knowledge), and customer support. You have to be at least somewhat suspicious if a company is offering you all of this for free. The short answer is, they’re not. Free DIY wills will not be as reliable or comprehensive, and they will not come with much customer support. They’re only a small step up from the candy wrapper.
A good, paid-for online will maker will often offer other documents, as mentioned above. An important document that is not covered by a will, but often offered by the same companies, is a power of attorney. This is a process in which you give legal power to someone else to make legally binding decisions on your behalf. This allows you to choose someone else to make all of your financial decisions for you. This is important for many people and is something you likely wouldn’t get with a free online will maker.
Paying for an online will from a good company may also have extended support down the line. You may be able to make adjustments, receive attorney advice when new information arrives or your estate evolves, and you may even have human revisions by a professional attorney. In a sense, it does sound a little like the fast-food takeaway version of estate planning. But that’s what we want, isn’t it? Good value, affordable wills that are quick to deal with, and are processed online for our convenience.
Concluding Words for Online Will Makers
Over half of Americans do not have a will. This is simply not good enough, but online wills are helping fix this. They’re not flawless, but the more people that create a will soon, the better. Even if it means paying for an online will as a temporary will until the future when their estate becomes complex — that is well worth ~$50 to $200.
Online DIY wills are very much legitimate legal documents. They’re not created with the same level of nuance as with a lawyer, but they can be revised and approved by an attorney to put your mind at rest. With a half an hour form, free online help and potentially future revisions, online wills pose a great threat to the exorbitant industry of traditional wills — especially for ordinary people.
To learn more about online will makers in Canada go here.