Drafting a will is an integral part of estate planning. However, two-thirds of Americans have no instructions for what to do with their funds when they die.
Part of the hesitancy may come from the discomfort of discussing death. Another concern is the time and expense. To expedite the process, people may turn to an online service, but they should consider whether or not doing so is optimal.
Online services may not offer sufficient guidance
A will needs to address an individual’s specific circumstances, which vary considerably from one person to another. Without professional guidance, a person who creates a will online may not understand how a life insurance policy, retirement account or investment fund may conflict with the will’s instructions for dispensing funds to beneficiaries.
A person might not sign the documents correctly
After a death, confusion can arise over the legitimacy of a will or estate plan. That misunderstanding can lead to legal conflicts among the family.
For example, Florida requires two witnesses to the signing of a will. Though the document does not need notarization, the lack of this stamp usually requires additional steps to prove the will is valid. That process could delay the distribution of the estate or invalidate the will.
Certain institutions might not accept wills from online companies
A will may be necessary to carry out specific actions at a bank or a hospital upon the testator’s death. These institutions could reject the document if it lacks specific features or has no legal professional to confirm its validity.
Various online companies provide estate planning documents quickly and cheaply. Though such services may be inexpensive now, they can be costly to the family later if even a minor error occurs.