Creating a will is one of those chores that no one looks forward to. But in times like these, with a deadly pandemic and volatile global events, we need to start taking will making seriously. The digitisation of wills has come at the right time, it seems, with an online will maker being able to make a will online in under 5 minutes.
What is an online will maker?
Well, as indicated by the name, online will makers are companies that sell will making services over the web. All you need is an internet connection and a device to complete them on.
The reason why this is a big deal is because will making has forever been a long, difficult and expensive process. Of course, this has been worth it for those who are older and/or vulnerable. But, for now, the digitisation of will making has made the process more accessible for the younger generation and boomers who perhaps haven’t yet considered making one.
How do online will makers work?
Online will makers are exceedingly easy to use – that’s their whole deal. When signing up to an online will maker, you will either be given a web form or a software to download. Deciding which is right for you is explained below.
Regardless of whether it’s web or software based, the process of creating the will would be very similar. Usually, a form is created by law experts and it has simple answer boxes – sometimes even multiple choice.
When at a lawyer’s office, you can ask a lot of questions. This is where things differ depending on which online will maker provider you use. All will makers provide help boxes and explanations of terminology and questions – though they do this to varying levels of effectiveness.
However, some companies are actual law firms, whilst others are merely tech companies. Generally, the law firms that make online will kits will be a bit more expensive, but will also have more specialised customer service. The tech company providers, however, often struggle to provide any useful customer service.
Still, it’s unlikely you will need assistance given how accessible the software is.
How to choose an online will maker?
In the event that the will making service is web-based, it will likely require the latest version of Chrome/Safari and possibly Flash. If you’re using a different web browser, you may have problems. So, decide first what platform you want to use to help narrow down the list.
Next, consider if you’re looking for the cheapest one, which may be under $30, or if you’re willing to spend closer to $70 for more comprehensive documents and customer service. If it’s the latter, opt for a law firm, but if you prefer speed and cheapness, then opt for the former.
You should have narrowed it down to just a few now. A few other things to consider are, do you want future revisions? If so, then some companies offer this for a flat fee. Secondly, decide on what other legal documents you want alongside the will, if at all, as many offer group-packages.
Pricing models also differ among companies, but it’s generally wise to opt for flat fees instead of subscriptions. After all, a will is a document that only needs to be created once, so why pay an on-going fee? There are companies that allow you to pay another flat fee in the future if you want the will revised.
Before finalising your choice, take a look online at reviews. This should help give you the confidence to back up your decision, or help make a decision on a close call.
Are online wills legit?
Online wills are absolutely legitimate. For a will to be valid, you need a couple of witnesses and a signature. The writing itself can be written anywhere, on anything, so long as it fits the above criteria. In this sense, and in most cases, you will not have an issue using online wills.
However, that isn’t to say there aren’t limitations regarding online wills. Online wills are inherently limiting because they’re created by closed-questions and answers without the nuance of a real-life human – not least a law expert.
So, if you’re expecting nuances, complications or dealing with vast amounts of wealth, then it may be worth spending some extra time with a lawyer to be on the safe side. This is particularly important if you have reason to believe your will may be challenged. For most of us, this isn’t the case.
You should suspect the threat of being challenged if you have any complicated relationships with close relatives, or if you have signs of mental health issues (i.e. if someone claimed you didn’t have capacity when making the will).
Everything is going mobile
It’s a common notion that everything is becoming digitised and going online. This is absolutely true. But, more specifically, we’re seeing a shift to mobile phones. Mobiles are seen as more convenient than traditional computers. A phone today has the power of a decade-old laptop, yet it fits in your pocket and can be used on-the-go.
Scrolling a blog about wills, Googling a company to use, signing up, paying, and completing the will could be done in a cafe when on an hour-long lunch break from the office. That’s an incredible shift in our economy, and it’s something all commerce is targeting.
The beauty here is that it’s about choice. You don’t have to use your mobile to create a will, just like you don’t have to shop online for groceries. But, if this is something you will find convenient, then there are plenty of services facilitating this demand.