Creating a will is an important piece of long term planning. It designates who is in charge of managing your affairs and how your belongings should be distributed after you die. If you’re considering creating an online “do it yourself will” to save a few bucks, you may want to reconsider. Using a generic online will form is has many risks, and you could end up leaving your family with a costly mess. Here are 3 reasons why you should not create your own will online.
1. One size does not fit all
Online wills are cookie cutter forms that do not leave room to enter important information specific to you. If you have any special situations (most people do) you may end up with no protection from these downloaded documents. Online wills are not sophisticated enough to legally enforce provisions intended to keep your loved ones safe. In many cases, online wills have caused heirs to lose their inheritance to a lawsuit, divorce or bankruptcy.
Similarly, just as individuals have specific needs, each state also has different requirements for properly creating a will. If an online will form does not include information required by the state, it could be invalid at the time of your death. This leaves your assets in the hands of the court to be distributed according to state law.
2. Cheaper for you comes at a cost for your family
The major selling point for online wills are the low fees charged for creating them. Companies market their online wills as the cheaper alternative to hiring an estate planning attorney, which is misleading. Estate planning attorney fees cover much more than a one page document:
- A complete estate plan with all of the documents you need to protect your family.
- Legal advice
- State specific knowledge
- Years of experience to eliminate mistakes.
- Reminders to ensure your plan stays up to date over the years.
The purpose of your will is to help guide your family through a difficult time. Creating a will that may or may not do anything at all entirely defeats that purpose. The real cost of an online will reveals itself when your family ends up paying court fees if there are mistakes in your document.
3. Read the Fine Print
Reading the terms and conditions of online will services will tell you everything you need to know. These companies do not guarantee that the documents will work, and admit that they might be out of date, incomplete or inaccurate. They cannot offer legal advice, review your document, or customize it to your particular needs.
Furthermore, they reserve the right to stop providing the services or features they offer without notice. Lastly, they can delete, change, or transfer your data, account history and content at any time with no notice or reason.
Time to call in the experts
When creating your estate plan, it’s not the time to be cheap or test your DIY skills. A will should be carefully drafted by an experienced estate planning attorney with knowledge of specific state laws. This decreases any chance of mistake or omission of important information that could leave your family in turmoil.
If you are in Savannah or the Coastal Georgia area and need help creating a thorough estate plan, give us a call: 912-352-3999