With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak over the last several weeks, people are taking steps to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their futures. Recently, the number of Americans turning to online services to create a will has exploded, and estate planning attorneys across the country are reporting an uptick in the number of clients reaching out to help them put a will in place. As people are growing concerned about the uncertain future, and as more people fear that they will eventually fall ill—and possibly pass away—it makes sense to put the necessary precautions in place so that, no matter what happens, your loved ones will be in safe and secure hands.
A Growing Trend
While many older people already have a will in place, or have at least initiated the process, the growing pandemic has prompted otherwise healthy and younger people to create a will. People in their twenties and thirties are suddenly worried that they may fall ill and pass away, so they want to make sure their property is handled according to their wishes. Across the country, companies that provide online DIY will creation services have seen a steep rise in the number of people using these services. Gentreo, based in Boston, reported a week-over-week increase of 143 percent, and Trust & Will, located in San Diego, experienced a 50 rise in users. For the most part, these users are parents of young children or adults over the age of 50 who are concerned about contracting the disease and developing severe complications.
Some Drawbacks of Online Will Services
The popularity of online will creation services has risen steadily in recent years, and in the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted many homebound individuals to turn to the internet to put a will in place. While these services tend to be affordable and simple on the surface, estate planning attorneys warn of several issues that online will services may cause. Vague language, incomplete provisions, and—in some cases—legally invalid documents could all cost someone thousands of dollars in legal fees down the road. Without the input of an attorney, an online will could leave out important information or leave someone vulnerable to legal loopholes later on, ultimately resulting in a lengthy and costly court battle. Even if you still want to use an online will service, it’s worth it to run the final product by a legal professional to make sure you are fully protected.
Creating a Will in During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Working with an estate planning attorney to establish a will is a great idea, but you’ll have to find creative ways to complete the process in compliance with current safety regulations. Typically, whether you use an attorney or an online service to create a will, you’ll need to sign it in the presence of a notary public and two witnesses. Under the social distancing guidelines currently in place, this quickly becomes problematic. Fortunately, many states, including Washington, have recently made online notary services available to the public. You can work with your attorney over the phone or via video conferencing to draft the will, then explore online tools to ensure that it becomes a legally binding document.
At Legacy Law Group, we understand how important it is to be prepared for the future. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, we are here to make sure you and your loved ones have all the tools you need to feel secure and safeguarded, no matter what the future holds. Call our Spokane Valley office at (509) 315-8087 to discuss your estate planning options with a dedicated attorney today.