During the past few years, many estate planning services have moved online. Some of the companies have been providing legal services for decades, both online and offline. Others emerged recently as IT-startups. There are several reasons why online estate planning has become so popular in the USA, and we will discuss them below.
*The price is for the Will-based estate plan which does not include living trust. To obtain that service you will need the Trust Plan costing $399
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of designating who will handle your responsibilities—such as taking care of your kids and pets—in case of your death or incapacitation, as well as who will receive your assets. The process of creating estate planning documents used to be complicated and expensive. You had to find an attorney, meet with them, discuss all the issues, create paper documents, adjust them as many times as needed, and so on.
Today all you need is will maker software to create a packet of documents that includes, but is not limited to the following: Last Will, Living Trust, Living Will, Financial Power of Attorney, and Medical Power of Attorney. Let’s go over what all these documents mean.
The last will, also known as the last will and testament, is an estate planning document that explains and clarifies what will happen to your property and other assets in case of your death or incapacitation, and who will be responsible for your dependents, including pets. Almost all online estate planning companies offer a template for creating this document either separately or as a part of a package.
A living trust is a document that designates a trustee to manage your assets, such as your bank accounts, property, vehicles, investments, etc. while you are still alive. It can also include information on where you would like your assets to go upon your death. Many estate planning services, such as eForms or LegalZoom, include templates for this document in their subscriptions or sell them separately.
A living will is a legal document where you specify which medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive as well as your preferences for pain management, organ donation, and other medical decisions. You can create a living will with almost any estate planning software offered by such companies as US Legal Wills, LawDepot, and more.
Financial Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney is a document that grants someone you choose the power to make financial decisions for you. Usually, it is created alongside your will. You can find the templates for creating a financial power of attorney in almost any online estate planning kit. Gentreo and Willing are among the online will makers that offer financial power of attorney templates.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is a document that appoints the person you select to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. That person becomes your health care agent. Their responsibilities include making sure the doctors and medical personnel provide all the necessary and appropriate care according to your wishes. Your health care agent will not be responsible for your medical bills. You can create a medical power of attorney using any type of estate planning software in such companies as LawDepot, Total Legal, and others.
These are not all the documents that can be created with estate planning software. There are hundreds of them. Besides, you can use online estate planning services for your business needs. Companies such as eForms, US Legal Forms, Rocket Lawyer, and others offer business incorporation and all the legal documents necessary to run a business, including contract templates, invoice templates, and many more.
Best Estate Planning Software
The best estate planning software is a question of personal preference. There are three major types of estate planning software: downloadable, cloud-based, and mobile. Some people prefer to buy downloadable software, install it on their well-protected computer, create their documents, and keep them offline. For them, Nolo would be the best estate planning company because they sell the best downloadable software on the market.
The majority of estate planning services use cloud-based software. All the templates and the finished documents are stored securely in the cloud. They are easily accessible from the client’s computer or a mobile device. You can save your documents online, download them to your computer, email them to yourself and your agents, or print them out and keep the paper copies in a safe place. Almost every estate planning company offers these types of cloud-based services.
The most progressive estate planning services place their bets on mobile estate planning software. Almost every American age 10 and up has a smartphone that they use for all their online needs. As younger generations grow up, they use the Internet for almost every aspect of their life: renting an apartment or a car, ordering food, buying anything they need, making appointments, working, etc. This list will include (and for some it already includes) estate planning. Companies like Tomorrow work solely on mobile platforms, while more and more online estate planning services add mobile apps to their software options.
Online Estate Planning Cost
Initially, many online estate planning services emerged as an affordable alternative to similar services offered in the attorney’s office. Companies, like Fabric, DoYourOwnWill, offer online will making free of charge. Their main business is selling life or term insurance, and they offer an opportunity to create a will online as a token of appreciation to their present and potential customers. However, if you need the whole estate planning kit, it will not be available for free.
Affordable estate planning documents and packages are widely available online. The prices range from $19.95 per document at US Legal Wills to $199 for an annual subscription at eForms. Some companies, like US Legal Forms, offer a deep discount when you pay annual price vs. month-to-month. In short, there are estate planning solutions available for any budget.
Final Words About Online Estate Planning
The first online estate planning services appeared more than 20 years ago, Since then, the idea of online estate planning became very popular, and online will makers are now in great demand. The main reasons for their popularity are the price, which is much cheaper than the services in a brick-and-mortar attorney’s office, as well as convenience. You don’t have to go anywhere to create a will or a power of attorney. All you need is a computer, or even a mobile device will do.
Also, online estate planning is a great time-saving opportunity because filling in state-specific templates created by lawyers and printing out the documents usually does not require much time.
Remember that online estate planning software comes in three types: downloadable, cloud-based, and mobile. The majority of estate planning companies use cloud-based software. However, all of these types are safe, secure, and protected, so which software is the best depends only on your personal preference.