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Are online wills a good idea for estate planning?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2023 | ESTATE PLANNING - Wills

An accident or sudden illness can strike unexpectedly and leave a family scrambling for answers on how to handle an estate. While few people like to contemplate such an event, estate planning instruments, such as wills and trusts, protect a family in these situations.

Various individuals turn to virtual document services to draft wills. In fact, such companies make over $14 billion yearly in the United States. What challenges could result from drafting a will with an online service?

Document services cannot guarantee their products

Sites that offer estate planning documents are not law firms. Instead, these services are document assistants that must straddle the line of providing official documents without offering legal services. For this reason, these companies cannot promise anything regarding the enforceability of the will.

Regrettably, a person may encounter a problem where a hospital, bank or another institution refuses to accept the document, causing distressing challenges for the family. The document service can do little to assist its clients in these circumstances.

Document planners cannot provide legal advice

If a person makes a mistake while creating an online will, the document assistant cannot help because the service does not contract with clients as a law firm. This also means the software or individual assisting a client cannot legally correct a legal error or make practical suggestions.

Companies avoid giving the impression of legal advice by offering generic forms that do not address specific situations. Thus, a person may unintentionally create an incomplete or invalid will.

Online legal services can provide legitimate wills for people. However, a simple mistake in the process could create complications for the family later.