Many companies currently provide people with the opportunity to create a Last Will and Testament and other various legal documents online. These online Wills have various issues that can cause your estate to not be distributed as intended, can create excessive legal fees during the estate administration, and make life on your family and friends even more difficult after you pass away. I went through the process of creating an online Last Will and Testament to get a sense of the various pitfalls. For this exercise, I did the basic Last Will and Testament on a popular well-advertised online program.
Pitfall #1: Have No Spouse or Children.
During the questionnaire phase of the online Will process, they require you to put in the family information of your spouse and your children. However, not everyone has a spouse or children. When this situation occurs, the probate process is a lot more difficult. The Surrogate’s Court will need to know the closest distrubutee(s) of the decedent. For example, this may be a sibling or a cousin. A practicing attorney would always have the client fill out a family tree in these situations. Often, in situations where a person has no spouse or children, a revocable trust is recommended. Creating a Will online does not inform you about the possibility of creating a revocable trust that may accomplish your goals more effectively.