You’ve worked hard and saved for years. You deserve to be able to enjoy your money. But what happens to all of it when you pass away?
Writing a last will is something that most people put off until it’s too late.
Forbes states that nearly half of Americans over age 55 do not have a will. Worse yet, only 18% of them have a completed legacy plan. That means that the vast majority of people do not have a power of attorney, a will, or an advanced health care directive.
As a result, many American families are left to deal with the financial and emotional fall-out left in the wake of their loved one’s death.
It’s not often that you think about it, but it’s never too late to get prepared. And getting a customized will done is often very simple and straightforward using an online will service.
Why It is Important to Have a Will
A will is a legal document that determines the distribution of your assets after your death and appoints an individual to make sure that your wishes are carried out.
A will serves two main purposes:
1) it allows you to leave behind a detailed list of what you’d like to happen with your assets, and
2) it lets you appoint an executor who can carry out those wishes.
A will is especially important for single people or for married couples without children. If you have children, then a will allows you to appoint a guardian to care for them if both parents die.
As online will services have become increasingly popular, the demographics of will and estate planning have changed. According to Care.com’s 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study, people aged 18-54 are more likely to have a will than people 55+, for the first time in history.
This is largely due to the popularity of online will services, and higher education on the importance of estate planning.
Online Will vs Custom Will
The main difference between an online will and a custom will is the cost, complexity, and execution process.
An online will service can help you to take control of your affairs in the event that you become incapacitated. The advantage of this is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
This means that there are no lawyer fees to pay, and you can take your time to make decisions.
Online will services are often cheaper than traditional will services because they are more streamlined. They use fill-in-the-blank forms instead of having an attorney review your information and write a customized version just for you.
To ensure that everything is taken care of for you, it is advisable to use an online will service which also includes a living will. A living will is a document whereby you can put down what sort of medical treatment and care you want should you be unable to make these decisions yourself in the future.
For people with complex estates, an attorney-written will is a way for them to ensure that their assets are divided as they wish. This is mainly because if you have a regular will, it may not be as clear as you would like it to be. If you do not have an attorney-drawn will, there is a chance that your assets could be separated in a way that you do not necessarily want.
Truthfully, most people can benefit from just an online will. An online will is much better than not having one, and you can feel more confident knowing that your assets will be properly divided in the way you have outlined in your document. This can help you avoid potential problems down the line, such as family members who did not quite agree with how each person’s assets were divided up, which could lead to arguments and legal disputes.
4 Steps to Creating A Will
Writing a will is an important part of estate planning, but many people put it off because it seems complicated and expensive. This is not necessarily true.
Getting a will doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. Tons of free online resources are available that can help you create a will for yourself or for your entire family. The trick is knowing how to sort through all the information and find the best possible resource for you.
#1: Gather the Information You Need to Write Your Will
Before you sit down to use an online will service, it is important to have the information you need in front of you. This may include decisions that you have made during important conversations with your loved ones.
Some information you may need includes:
1) Who should inherit your estate. This also includes who should not inherit from you and why.
2) How should this inheritance be dispersed if there are multiple beneficiaries or different types of assets?
3) What about any special wishes for charities or other organizations?
#2: Choose the Right Online Will Provider
Choosing the right online will provider for your specific situation is vital. Ensure that the company you choose includes all of the features you need, so you can draft your will in one fell swoop.
Look for an established company with excellent reviews and thorough customer service. If you run into problems, you want to be able to ask someone for help.
#3: Create Your Will
Next, draft your will by following the instructions provided by the company. This should be fairly straightforward. If you are unsure of some of your decisions, keep having conversations with your loved ones, and go back to change your options before completing the document if needed.
#4: Have Your Will Reviewed by an Attorney
While online will services are much quicker and cheaper than having an attorney write the entire document, it is still important to get an online will reviewed by a professional.
This may involve bringing the document to your retained attorney, but some online will services provide access to a lawyer for this purpose for an extra fee.
What to Look for in Online Will Service
There are some important features you should consider when choosing an online will service:
Ease of use
Consider your technical abilities before choosing an online will service. If you aren’t confident in your computer skills, it is best to stick with a straightforward version. If you fear that you may encounter technical issues, you can enlist a more tech-savvy relative or friend, or ensure that the company offers excellent customer service.
Online will services vary in price depending on the features they offer. More complex companies that offer legal consults and hands-on assistance can be quite costly, but a service that offers a clear-cut, straightforward template may be relatively cheap.
Ability to Handle Your Unique Situations
When choosing an online will service, make sure that it covers everything you need to plan your will. Does it allow you to appoint an executor? Does it cover guardianship of minors? What about a form for a living will?
As with any online will service, always check reviews before you part with your hard-earned money. Reputable services will have many reviews with a quick Google search, and you should be able to make an educated decision that best suits your needs.
Final Note: This is not legal or financial advice.
As always, legal decisions should be made in consultation with a lawyer. This is not legal or financial advice, but a guide to help you through the journey of managing your will.
The post How to Create an Online Will to Protect Your Loved Ones appeared first on Center for Major Gifts.