Why You Should Avoid Online Wills & Estate Planning
A popular trend for estate planning is online companies offering “DIY wills.” This means you can create a legally binding will online for very cheap and then sign and notarize it on your own. While it’s great that more people prioritize their will and estate plan, doing it online yourself is not wise. Here we will detail why you should avoid online wills and what you should do instead to ensure your assets are protected.
Online wills may not meet Florida state laws
These online will companies offer this service to anyone all over the country. This is very convenient but also gets tricky with the different state laws. For example, Florida has specific criteria and laws that wills and estate planning documents must meet. These may be slightly different than other states, so a general online DIY will may not meet Florida state laws. Therefore, the courts may not execute your will to your wishes if it doesn’t meet the state’s criteria for validity.
The language in your will is also essential. Even if your will meets state requirements, if it doesn’t use precise language, there could be problems executing the will. This is where a Florida estate planning attorney is beneficial. They know the language and laws an estate plan must meet while honoring your unique situation and goals.
It may not be enough
Creating an online will is typically just a template where you fill in your information. Unfortunately, this may not be enough to protect your assets and honor your wishes. A solid estate plan includes more than just a simple will. While a will is absolutely necessary, it’s not the only thing you need. Even if you don’t have a large estate, other documents like trusts, powers of attorney, and directives are very beneficial to cover every area of your life.
Sometimes an online will is so simple it forgets crucial information. For example, it’s critical to include an alternate executor in your will. If your original executor is unwilling or unable to perform those duties, it causes significant problems if there is not another executor listed.
Mistakes are costly
We know the big appeal to online wills is the low cost. However, if the will has mistakes or cannot be executed, it can lead to major costs and frustrations. Unfortunately, your loved ones will be dealing with it upon your death too. Therefore, it’s always best to complete your will and estate plan the right way up front to avoid any unnecessary issues in probate. Your family will appreciate it, and it will give you extra peace of mind that your affairs are in order.
Even if the will is executed properly, sometimes overlooked decisions are costly in the long run. For example, if your will states you leave your children an inheritance, that large amount goes directly to them upon your death. It may not be wise to leave a large sum of money unprotected. Many people choose to protect their inheritance and children by setting up a trust with guidelines, which is something you can’t do with an online will company.
Life happens and plans change
If you have a simple life and choose to create a will online, that may work for now, but sometimes unexpected plans happen. These unforeseen life circumstances often aren’t accounted for in a DIY online will. For example, people don’t anticipate divorce, incapacity, job loss, the sudden death of a family member, and so on. A trusted estate planning attorney knows how to plan for the unexpected and can guide you on what’s necessary for your unique estate plan.
The best way to complete your estate plan
So, if online wills aren’t the best route for creating your will, how should you complete your will and estate plan? The best way to accurately create or update your estate plan is through a Florida estate planning attorney. A trusted estate planning attorney is an expert on the laws and language needed for a valid estate plan, so you don’t have to worry if your wishes will be honored. Additionally, estate planning attorneys guide you on overlooked parts of estate planning that you may not have considered. This can save you and your loved ones a lot of money and heartache in the long run!
No matter what your assets and family dynamic look like using a trusted Florida estate planning attorney is the right move for your estate plan. The law professionals at The Merriman Law Firm have experience with creating simple wills and trusts, plus complex estate plans for large estates. We want our past, present, and potential clients to feel confident with the necessary information to make the right decision for their families. Contact The Merriman Law Firm for a free initial consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.