The Case for Online Wills

Do you have a valid Will? A recent investigation found that over 50% of Australians don’t. If you’re in this camp, you’re running the risk of dying “intestate” and leaving your Estate to be handled by the Courts – which doesn’t often pan out to anyone’s satisfaction.

In this post, we will explain why an Online Will might be a good solution to this problem.

Online Wills

Does everyone need a Will?

A Will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after you die. As the saying goes, you can’t take it with you when you go. But it needs to go somewhere, and McCrindle estimates that over $3.5 trillion will pass along via inheritance in Australia over the next 20 years. If you die without a valid Will, your Estate will be distributed by the Court according to a pre-existing outline – and this outline rarely falls in line with what you may have wanted.

Your Will is the sole authority on what to do with your assets after you pass away and is a remarkably powerful legal document. But there are four minimum requirements a Will must meet to be considered valid, and a lot of other guidelines to follow  depending on the state where your assets are held. If your Will does not meet these requirements, the Court may decide your Will is invalid and may treat your Estate as if you had no Will at all.

Not only is it important to have a Will – even if you don’t own a lot of stuff – it’s also important that it meets the legal requirements for validity.

Do I need a lawyer to draft a Will?

Having your Will drafted by a lawyer is a foolproof way to get a legally valid Will. Going to a competent Estate Planning lawyer, especially if you have a lot of different kinds of assets, will cover your legacy and save your loved ones a lot of stress and money when your time here is over.

But it’s no secret that lawyers can be expensive. You can expect to pay a few hundred dollars even for a straightforward Will and heading into the thousands for complicated Estates. What’s more, your lawyer will charge you every time you need to make updates, adding hundreds more to the lifetime bill.

Can I use a kit?

Will kits provide a simple solution for you to draft a Will yourself. A Will kit is designed to be easy to follow and offers a pre-defined template for you to fill in the blanks. This simplicity comes, however, at the expense of limited scope. Your standard Will kit only covers the most common scenarios and may not be enough to accommodate all your wishes.

What is an Online Will, and how is it different to a Will Kit?

An Online Will is like a Will kit in that it’s a DIY solution to drafting a valid Will. However, unlike a Will kit, an Online Will isn’t limited in scope and can accommodate any kind of scenario needed. An Online Will also walks you through the steps but using web and mobile app technology makes it more user-friendly while being infinitely more flexible.

Are Will kits and Online Wills valid?

As said above, Will kits have very limited options. If you attempt to “hack” the Kit by altering the printed text or bending the rules with ambiguous wording, it can cause lengthy delays in Probate or even render your Will invalid entirely.

Online Wills offer much better flexibility and use a mix of thorough walkthroughs and validation technology to ensure the result is a valid Will.

How much does an Online Will cost?

Online Wills cost a fraction of a lawyer-drafted Will and offer the same scope and protection. What’s more, it costs you nothing to update your Will as many times as you need, and this is where the real savings come in.

Consider the life changes that also require changes to your Will – buying or selling property, marriage or divorce, children being born, friends or family members coming and going – if you had to pay a lawyer to make these changes every time, you’d be looking at thousands of dollars over the course of your life. An Online Will can be updated at any time at zero cost.

Where should I store my Will?

Your Will is a physical document and needs to be stored securely. Damage or evidence of tampering can render a Will invalid, so you need to keep it somewhere it can remain untouched.

You can store your Will at a bank or secure storage facility, in a safety deposit box, or in a safe at your home.

With Online Wills, you may also get online or mobile access to your documents. OneWill Online Wills offer this – you can access your Will and other Estate Planning documents anywhere, anytime, as long as you have mobile data.

What maintenance does my Will require?

Your Will needs to be up-to-date with your current address and correct description of assets at the time of your death. This is why it’s so important to update your Will after any kind of life change or change in assets.

Will kits, like lawyer-drafted Wills, can’t be quickly and easily updated. You can’t cross out an old address, make notes or comments in the margins, or add or remove a beneficiary from a Will kit. If you need to make changes you need to buy a new Will kit and start all over again.

With Online Wills, you generally get the ability to make changes and updates to your Will and generate a new Will instantaneously and zero cost. Again, this is where an Online Will is superior to both lawyer-drafted Wills and Will kits.

What about Probate?

If you have a complicated Estate or you are a high net-worth individual, you should consider appointing an Estate Planning Attorney to draft your Will. A competent Estate Planning Attorney will have the expertise to properly cover your entire Estate, and you can expect the Will they draft to pass Probate with minimal fuss.

Will kits and Online Wills are just as legally valid as lawyer-drafted Wills, but there are important things to consider. There are unfortunate examples of Will kits with ambiguous wording causing significant delays and legal costs for loved ones along with the resulting stress. The safest way to avoid this would be for a lawyer to review your Will kit draft – at which point, once the bill comes through, you may as well have paid them to draft it themselves.

OneWill, as an Online Will provider, provides Probate-compliant Wills. OneWill Online Wills offer options for a significant number of scenarios in which it can generate a Will that will make it through Probate. If the app can’t accommodate a particular scenario, the option won’t exist in the selections. This can be an easy litmus test to see whether you need to go to an Estate Planning Attorney.

OneWill Online Wills – the 21st Century option

The average Australian is far better off with an Online Will over a Will kit. If you don’t have an expansive asset portfolio, intertwining business interests, or complicated trust setups, an OneWill Online Will is the place you should start. OneWill Online Wills cost a lot less than a lawyer and offer a much broader range of options to properly protect your legacy for your loved ones.

Get started with your OneWill Online Will and enjoy the peace of mind that follows!

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