How to Make an Online Will

Online Will

Ronna L. DeLoe is a...

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May 10, 2016

The Internet is responsible for many things such as providing information quickly and allowing you to make money from your website. It also allows you to create documents online or to have them created for you. This includes the creation of online wills.

There are many online companies that can make a last will and testament for you. Other ways to make a will online include instant downloading or having a form printed out that you can fill in on your own time.

Some of these sites are free while others charge for their service. Some charge additional money for having an attorney review your document. Which type of website you should use for making an online will depends on whether you have a few or many assets and whether there are specific things you want in your will. It’s helpful to shop around for the website that will provide you with the right will for your situation.

Do-it-Yourself Wills
Some online companies allow you to make your own will with their software. The website will provide a general template that you can fill in with information specific to your situation.

When creating your own will, it’s important for you to find out what the law requires in your state because you must comply with it for the will to be valid. Using a do-it-yourself will company may save you a lot of money if you are savvy about your estate and about how you want to divide it. If you aren’t sure what you need to put in your will, you may not want to use a do-it-yourself company.

Downloading Forms Specific to Your State and Situation
Some websites provide specific forms which are state-specific and fact-specific. For example, if you need a will for Michigan, you type in the state and you’ll get a form for that state. The site also may ask for information such as whether you have children or whether you want to disinherit anyone. It may ask questions about the type of property you have such as real estate and personal property.

You provide certain information in response to the website’s prompts and your will is created for you. You can then print it, although some companies will email it to you. These sites take you from one page to the next and ask you specific questions. If the questions pertain to you, it will add a clause with the information you provide.

Some of these sites have the option to have an attorney review the document. That might be a good idea, especially if you think you may have overlooked something. This may be an extra service for an additional fee on some sites.

Creating a Will with Review by an Attorney
Some online companies will walk you through the steps of creating your will by use of a questionnaire and by having an attorney review the entire will. The will may take a little longer to create because it is being reviewed, but many of these companies can provide your will within a relatively short period of time.

Even if an attorney reviews the will you created, there may be things left out that should be included. You should be aware of what is required in your state and what the best options for your estate are. The more vigilant you are, the more you can protect yourself by knowing what belongs in the will and what doesn’t.

Some Online Websites
Do some research before you pick a company to prepare your will. There are websites such as enodare.com, LegalZoom.com, Rocketlawyer.com, and Nolo.com that prepare wills, but it’s up to you to see if you like these sites. There are many other companies, so review and compare their ratings and customer satisfaction.

You don’t have to be a senior citizen to make a will, and in fact, it’s important to have a will if you’re married, if you have a child, and if you have a large estate. You may want to discuss your entire estate plan with an online attorney. Sometimes other documents, such as a living revocable trust, a power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, and a living will—which contains your instructions for when you’re incapacitated—may be necessary or desirable.

If you have a large estate, a complicated estate, or if there are some complicated issues such as disinheriting beneficiaries such as a spouse or child, you may want to consult with an attorney in your state. This is also a good idea if you think people will contest your will in court.

Be Vigilant — Necessary Clauses in Your Will
It is important for you to know what to look for to ensure that the will follows your intent and that it doesn’t leave anything out. Some of the provisions a will should contain are:

  • The name of a guardian and a successor guardian to care for your children;
  • The names of beneficiaries and alternate beneficiaries;
  • The specific names of any charities that are beneficiaries;
  • The property, real and personal, that each beneficiary will inherit, describing each item in detail so there’s no guessing what you intended;
  • The name of an executor and a successor executor;
  • Forgiving debts others owe you, if desired, otherwise your executor can try to collect them;
  • Any people you specifically want to disinherit. The best way to do this is to name the person, and state that you are specifically disinheriting this person without explaining why. They’ll usually know why. If you are disinheriting someone, you are advised to discuss this with an attorney.
  • A residuary clause, which states how you want the remaining property distributed after all debts and taxes have been paid and after all beneficiaries have received their distribution;
  • Clauses which do not contradict your life insurance or other policies;
  • Your name and address and the addresses of the beneficiaries and executor so they can be located.

Make sure beneficiaries and the executor are not witnesses to the will. Also ensure that you have the required number of witnesses for your state. Quite often the witnesses’ signatures need to be notarized. It is advisable to have all the witnesses sign in each other’s presence so the will is not invalidated.

Some states don’t allow you to staple anything, including the will itself. Others require you to initial all the pages. Check your state’s rules, which specify how your will should be signed, witnessed and bound.

Never keep a copy in your safe deposit box, as the box can be sealed by the probate court until a later time. It’s best to keep the original somewhere in your house where your loved ones can find it. You can always leave a letter to your family, explaining where your documents can be found.

Working online with websites such as enodare is a great way to make an online will, especially if your estate is relatively simple. In the event you have any questions, seek legal advice.


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