It’s easier, quicker, and more convenient to do as many things online as possible – we get it. And when it comes to legal documents, going through an attorney means trying to find someone you trust (not as easy as it should be sometimes) and carving out time in your schedule for an appointment (also easier said than done).
Why not make things as easy as possible – can you just make a will online?
You Can Make A Will Online, But You Probably Don’t Want To
The simple answer is yes, you can make a will online. You can jump onto LegalZoom or a number of other websites and create your own Last Will and Testament.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The risks of drafting your will and other estate planning documents online definitely outweigh the benefits.
(Related: Click here for a list of documents you’ll need for a cohesive estate plan.)
The Real Questions You Should Ask:
If you’re thinking it might be a good idea to make your will online, we encourage you to ask a few further, more realistic questions:
Can I Make A Will Online That Will Hold Up In Court?
You can make your will online, but will it be one that holds up in court? You can’t guarantee it. You see, your Last Will and Testament, as well as any other estate planning documents you might need, aren’t actually written to you. They’re written about you, but they are written to a judge.
That’s why the language feels so complicated and full of legal jargon – it’s written so that if there is some dispute over your estate, the judge who looks at it will see that it’s written in a legally binding way. It’s his job to interpret it.
Unless you’re trained in legal language (we like to call it legalese), you won’t have any way of knowing whether or not you are wording things in such a way that they’ll hold up before a judge if they need to.
That’s where a trusted attorney comes into play. He or she is trained for this very thing and will be able to guarantee your Last Will and Testament prove legitimate if contested.
Can I Make A Will Online That Accomplishes All My Relational Goals?
The second question to ask is whether or not an online will can truly help you accomplish your relational end-of-life goals. We firmly believe that although estate planning involves your assets, it’s much more about your relationships than it is about your money.
An online service can’t get to know you, hear about your relationships with loved ones, or give you legal advice that will help you leave them in the best position possible.
That’s a huge advantage you have in partnering with an attorney; he or she will be able to evaluate your individual situation in life and your relationships and then help you understand how to maximize the law for their benefit.
(Related: For more on having a relational estate planning philosophy vs. a traditional estate planning philosophy, click here)
Building A Relationship With An Estate Planning Attorney Is Wise, and Here’s Why:
Not only do we suggest going through an attorney to create your estate plan documents, but we also encourage people to take their time, and find an attorney they trust, with whom they can build a relationship. This will aid you in several ways, both now and in the future:
They’ll Ensure You Make The Right Plan
Like we discussed above, this is your greatest chance of making the plan that’s right for you and your family. The more you know and trust your attorney, the more you’ll be able to share your personal life, which in turn will help them know how to best help you.
They’ll Be A Huge Asset To Your End-of-Life Team
An attorney is one professional, along with a financial planner, accountant, for some people a broker, etc., who proves to be extremely helpful at the end of your life. As you grow older, having a relationship with an attorney will take a lot of stress out of any new legal decisions or changes to your estate plan you may have to make.
They’ll Be Able To Aid Your Heirs In Estate Administration
Even after you pass away, an estate planning attorney can be a huge help to your family. If there is any question or issue regarding your estate administration, your executor can go straight to the person or firm who created your estate plan for help. We advise our clients to put together a list of people (refer to the end-of-life team above) for their families. It should include people who can help them with everything from advice on investments to closing an estate, and this definitely includes a reputable attorney.
(Related: For tips on how to find the best estate planning attorney for you as an individual, click here.)
The Best Way To Invest In Estate Planning Services
So like we said, you can make a will online, we just wouldn’t ever recommend it.
It’s safer, wiser, and financially worth the investment to find the attorney who will be the right fit for you, and to utilize his or her knowledge of the law as much as you can.
We’d love to meet you so you can see if we’re the right firm to meet you and your family’s needs. Click here to request your free estate planning consultation with us.