In the modern age, traditional procedures and legal documents have transformed, making estate planning, specifically creating wills, more accessible and convenient.
Digital platforms have significantly altered the process, bringing the concept of a digital will to the fore. This alternative enables individuals to arrange their affairs easily and conveniently, previously unimaginable. Understanding its functionalities, benefits, potential pitfalls, and legal standing is increasingly vital.
Here are the five things to know about creating an online will.
Benefits Of Digital Wills
With the advent of modern innovations today, digital wills have become a popular and essential aspect of estate planning. It has become a good option for many people due to its advantages. These include:
- Convenience: Creating a will can be daunting, but the major selling point of online wills is convenience. They provide a way to create a legally binding document without physically visiting a lawyer’s office. Instead, they can be crafted from the comfort of one’s home, providing an attractive option for those looking for efficiency and convenience.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Traditionally, drafting a will involves consulting with an attorney, a process that can be time-consuming and costly. In contrast, digital wills often come at a fraction of the cost, making them an affordable alternative for many individuals.
- Suitability: Online wills can suit individuals with specific estate planning needs. If an individual’s estate is relatively simple without complex issues like multiple properties, investments, or intricate family dynamics, an online will efficiently address their needs.
By considering these advantages, you’ll know whether crafting a digital will using a reliable platform can be an excellent option for your situation.
While online wills offer convenience and cost savings, they have potential pitfalls. Some potential drawbacks of creating digital wills include:
- The generic nature of online wills may not account for specific state laws or unique personal circumstances. Hence, customization may be challenging to achieve with digital wills.
- The platforms that allow the creation of online wills may not be equipped to handle complex estate planning needs, leading to potential legal issues in the future.
If you’re considering crafting an online will, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons thoroughly. Make sure the will creation platform is reliable and has a good reputation. Also, read the terms and conditions of your will before finalizing it to spot errors and other issues which could invalidate the legal document.
Legality and Enforceability
It’s essential to know that the legality and enforceability of digital wills vary from state to state. Creating an online will is legal and enforceable in some jurisdictions, while they’re not valid in other states. Hence, it’s best to check the laws of your state before deciding to draft an online will.
On the other hand, in areas where digital wills are allowed, they should meet specific requirements to ensure their validity and enforceability. These include:
- The testator or the person making the will should sign the legal document in the presence of witnesses. In some states, two witnesses are enough.
- The witnesses shouldn’t be named beneficiaries in the will to avoid a conflict of interest.
The legal document may be invalid if you fail to comply with the formalities your state requires in online will-making. It can mean your express wishes will not be fulfilled upon your death. So, meet the requirements provided by your state laws to avoid problems with your digital will later.
Review and Updates
Like traditional wills, reviewing and updating online wills is essential. Life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children, or significant financial changes, can impact the provisions of a will. With a digital will, these updates can often be done easily and quickly on the digital platform where the will was initially created.
Moreover, to ensure your online will is up to date, it’s important to account for the following things when making the necessary updates:
- Your name and address;
- Names of your beneficiaries;
- Name of your executor;
- Assets that form part of your estate;
- Distribution of your assets.
By reviewing and updating your online will, you can ensure your will contains your express intentions as to how your estate should be administered after your death.
Storing An Online Will
Storing an online will safely is crucial. Some online will services offer storage options, or you can print and keep the document in a safe place, like a fireproof box at home or a safety deposit box.
When keeping a will online, use a strong password and proper encryption to protect it against unauthorized access. Also, ensure the storage service provider you choose is reputable and secure. This way, you can keep your will safe and readily accessible when you need it the most.
A digital will can be a viable option for individuals who want a convenient, cost-effective estate planning solution. While technology offers simplified solutions, understanding the intricacies involved in this digital approach to a traditionally complex process is essential. Therefore, keep the information mentioned above in mind to know the fundamentals of creating an online will and whether it’s the proper estate planning strategy for your unique circumstances.