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Online Will Makers: A Viable Alternative To A Legal Professional

by Martha Simmonds

Have you made a Will yet? Did you know that creating a will without a lawyer is easier than ever? Online will makers are proving to be the best lawyer alternatives for budget-conscious Americans who want to make a last will and testament. And based on reviews, the consensus is that they rock. In this post, we will take a closer look at how online wills work and online willmakers in general.

It is estimated that only 46% of Americans have made a last will and testament. Whilst this figure did significantly increase during the COVID pandemic, the fact is that a lot of Americans are at risk of dying intestate.

It is not entirely clear why so many of us are reluctant to make our Will. It could be that we intend to live forever or rather that we are just not quite yet ready to contemplate our own demise. Alternatively, it could just be that we don’t feel we have anything worth leaving behind.

Another possible barrier to will making though is the cost – hiring a lawyer or estate planner costs an average of $1,000 which is simply more money than many folks can afford to spare. However, the internet is in the process of revolutionising the will making industry forever, and online will makers are already providing a viable and affordable alternative to answering America’s will making needs.

What Is A Will?

A last will and testament (or simply a will) is a document in which a person sets out their final wishes to be executed in their event of their eventual death. Wills can be used to set out any special requests for funeral or burial ceremonies and of course to dictate how one’s estate and worldly possessions should be divided up. Will’s are also a pretty good place to record things like account numbers, passwords or other information that relatives might need to actually access the deceased person’s assets.

To be recognised as a Will, a document just needs to be signed and dated by the person making it.  As such, it is not and has never been necessary to hire a lawyer.  Still, seeking help is often advisable as most of us do not know exactly what kind of things we need to put in a will and it is very easy to overlook certain, crucial aspects – such as nominating a person and creating a fund to look after beloved pets!

Furthermore, a properly executed will reduces the chances of the deceased person’s relatives contesting it – and believe us, protracted and costly probate litigation is sadly all too common.

Making A Will

In some cases, it is advisable to use a lawyer to make a will. For example, anybody who has a particularly complex or high net value estate might be better off sitting down with a qualified estate lawyer. Likewise, anybody who has assets in a foreign country or a particularly acrimonious familial situation should consider seeing a lawyer.

Creating a Will Without a Lawyer?

However, most ordinary people do not really ‘need’ a lawyer to help them make a will. After all, a lot of what a lawyer does when making a will is basic form filling, just helping their clients to complete a draft, or template document. In fact, the legal profession often views Will making as easy money – something to top up the beer fund in between long bouts of real legal work.

Best Lawyer Alternatives

Still, even though Will making can be relatively straightforward, it is still not advisable to go in blind. With this in mind online will makers make a viable alternative to using a lawyer.

  • Online Will Makers

Online will makers are basically internet-based estate planners or legal companies who help their clients remotely. Most online will makers operate by selling access to certain documents or their entire legal library in exchange for a one-off fee, or a rolling subscription.

To use an online will maker, a customer simply has to sign up for the service, pay the fee and they can then download the draft will and estate documents. Obviously the customer then needs to fill out the draft document and insert the relevant details. Still, the templates are designed to be very easy to follow and a lot of will makers also offer customer support in case something is not clear.

Once the draft template has been completed, it is very important to print and sign it in ink – whilst e-signatures can be acceptable in some legal areas, e-signing a will could potentially invite allegations of forgery. As an aside, it is probably worth making a few copies of the will and storing them with trusted friends, family members or professionals.

Final Thoughts on Online Wills

It is not exactly pleasant to contemplate one’s own death. But, in order to ensure that the people (or animals) we love are looked after and that our last wishes are respected, they are absolutely necessary.

And as we have seen, it does not need to be an expensive undertaking. Creating a will without a lawyer is easy as there are credible and viable best lawyer alternatives in the form of online will makers. Remember,  correctly executed online wills from reputable online willmakers are legally valid.

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