Have you written a will? If you still feel like you are in the prime of your life, chances are you are putting it off until later. Most Americans see wills as something for older people to do. Many even think about wills as documents only required by the super wealthy. People who have millions of dollars to divide among their family.
However, the reality is that everyone should have a will. As long as you have assets or savings, children, or other dependents, a will is a necessity. You may still be young, but anything can happen in this life. If you don’t have a will, your family is left without knowing your wishes. They will struggle to determine how to navigate your estate, leading to stress, fights, and communication breakdowns.
In recent years, there has been a push to make it easier for people to write wills. This has culminated in legislation changing to accommodate modern technology. Canada’s British Columbia, for example, recently legislated that wills can be signed and submitted digitally. You never have to sit in front of a physical document or deal with a lawyer, because everything can be done online.
This shows that legislators are interested in making documents like wills more accessible. While lawyers may benefit from the fact that most people are not familiar with how to make a will, the general public suffers. Money and assets sit in limbo and loved ones struggle to find closure.
The legislation in British Columbia better facilitates a process that is already getting easier by the day. This is due to the introduction of online will makers.
What is an online will maker?
Online will makers take all the complexity out of making a will by programming the particulars into an algorithm that will do it for you. This is essentially possible because wills are very simple legal documents. Technically, writing your desires on any old piece of paper and signing it in front of a witness counts as a legal will.
The difficulties associated with making wills have more to do with the wording and covering all your bases. Online will makers use a template that accepts your input and formats it so as to avoid potential loopholes or confusion.
Once your will is made, you can look it over and even have a legal expert do so for you. Then, you can print it out and sign it in front of a witness. With legislation like that in British Columbia, this last part is not even necessary, as you can do it all digitally.
In 2022, online estate planning is therefore easier than ever. Instead of having to learn how to write a will without a lawyer, you leave it to a cheap automated service. Of course, as with any industry, not all online will-making services are created equal.
To find the best online will makers in 2022, you need to know what you are looking for. Here are some of the features to look out for, along with the companies that do a particularly good job in each area.
The very first thing you need to look for is the legitimacy of the online will-making service. Technically, there is no need for lawyers to be involved in the creation of the algorithm used to make wills. Free online will makers may have been created by people without the expertise you want out of a legal service. If your focus is entirely on making cheap wills, you may not get watertight documentation.
There are many affordable online will makers that are perfectly legitimate, however, and you can count on them based on their track record. Nolo is the oldest in the business. They have been around for over fifty years and have a long history of satisfied customers. They have not always offered online will making, of course, but their history in the legal services industry speaks for itself.
You do not need to go for a fifty-year-old company to guarantee legitimacy. Simply read the online reviews and look into who is behind each company to determine whether they can be trusted.
Different will makers offer different pricing plans. Some will give you a simple once-off fee to create a single will. Others will provide subscription packages which allow you to make as many changes as you want over time, along with access to other types of legal documents.
Most will makers provide a free trial period which you should take advantage of. However, don’t try to use this as a way to avoid paying at all. It is worth paying the relatively low price in order to have a foolproof legal document.
US Legal Wills has some of the best pricing plans, including an option to get a full estate planning package for just $100.
Range of documents
When using an online will maker, you should consider taking the opportunity to make other legal documents related to your wishes. For example, you may want to create a Power of Attorney document. This is a document that states hwo will make decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
You can write Power of Attorney documents for financial matters and for health matters. You can also write a Living Will, which states your desires should you be in certain medical scenarios.
Rocket Lawyer is one of the best when it comes to these features. You can create a simple will or you can create a whole set of documents. They are also a well-trusted company with fairly good value for money.
Every will-making service should be designed in line with legal regulations and best practises. As such, there should be legal experts involved in the creation of the service. However, this does not have to be as far as the legal expertise goes. Rather, some people feel it necessary that a legal expert looks over their document before they sign it.
Some will makers therefore offer an added service of being able to consult a lawyer without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a consultation. For a small fee, they have a lawyer look for any errors or potential issues.
LegalZoom is an excellent service when it comes to these cases. They offer comprehensive attorney support. Their service has been used by people creating wills for complex scenarios, in which the expertise of the programmed algorithm was not quite enough.
Creating a will in 2022 should not be something reserved for those wealthy enough to pay hundreds of dollars to lawyers and attorneys. With legislation in certain regions making it easier to create and submit a will digitally, the push towards accessibility has gained traction. Use one of the best will-making services mentioned above to make your will as soon as possible.