The Need for a Will During a Pandemic
During the last month, Americans have been feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as businesses close, stay-at-home orders have been issued, and the number of those affected by the virus drastically increases. Across the country, people have been scrambling to set up their first Wills or change pre-existing Wills in case of the worst-case scenario. Even those who are young and in otherwise good health want to be prepared by making sure their Wills are in order and their assets will be protected.
Over the past several years, many people have been turning to online companies and websites to create their Wills and draft end-of-life plans. From their home, they can outline who gets their things, such as money, jewelry, retirement accounts, etc. At the same time, these websites will help you create directives on what type of healthcare to provide you if you are incapacitated or what kind of funeral you want.
During the COVID-19 pandemic many people are turning to these websites in order to draft their Wills because these websites provide a cheap, easy, and fast way to create legally binding Wills. However, as online wills grow in popularity, many lawyers are voicing their concerns against people relying on these online resources because they are cautious about whether some of these online Wills will be upheld in court. The following are several common concerns that many lawyers have over the use of online Wills:
- Many online Wills are uniform so that they can be used by as many people as possible without the company having to change the formatting for each individual customer. Moreover, each state has different legal requirements in order for a Will to be valid and upheld in probate court. Without the oversight of an attorney, the majority of online Wills created and executed may not be compliant with the state that the individual lives in.
- Without the assistance of an attorney, the individual seeking to draft an online Will may produce contradictory terms as to who gets what in the Will. An attorney will understand the nuances of how things need to be written in order for the will to convey the intent of the client. For example, if you accidently leave the same thing to different people, your online Will may more than likely be contested in court where a judge will have to determine your intent, or the judge may find the specific term invalid.
- The larger the estate, the more complicated your Will and estate planning will be. An online Will may not be able to recognize the nuance involved in complex estate planning whereas an attorney can sit down with you and go through all your assets and determine the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient method of conveying your assets in your Will.
While this is not meant to dissuade people from using online Wills to protect their assets in the worst-case scenario, you should be aware of the concerns regarding online Wills and conduct as much research as you can on the online resource before moving forward with drafting your online Will.
Even during this time of social- distancing the law firm of Dalena & Bosch is here for you if you are considering drafting a new Will. We are available over the phone to discuss your needs and goals in protecting your assets and will work around the current guidelines on travel and human contact in order for you to execute your Will.
If you are conflicted about whether online Wills are the best option for you and have any question regarding the drafting of your Will during this unpredictable time, please contact the experienced attorneys of Dalena & Bosch to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and goals.