Planning For The ‘What-Ifs’

What are the downsides to using online will-making software?

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2022 | Estate Planning

The internet has completely changed certain industries. The rise of online shopping has led to streamlined retail operations and created new niches for many other businesses.

Professionals ranging from accountants to mental health professionals have attempted to integrate the internet into their services. Some industries suffer ill effects or setbacks from the internet’s impact. The legal field is one area where the internet has done as much harm as good.

There has been a proliferation of legal documents or templates online, and there are now numerous software programs and apps that can help people create certain legal documents for themselves. While it may seem fast and cost-effective to use a program to create a will at home, there are actually several serious risks that arise from using this quick and cheap solution for estate planning.

Your documents may not meet the basic requirements set by Arizona’s laws

For a will to be valid, the person creating it needs to be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind. They typically also need to sign the document themselves in the presence of two adult witnesses.

Creating digital documents makes it altogether too easy to fail to meet the witness requirements. People may assume they have created necessary plans with a document they saved to their home computer but that document may not meet the basic requirements to serve as a will in Arizona probate proceedings.

You may not understand what you can do with a will

Boilerplate documents are intentionally vague to make them applicable to as many circumstances as possible. When you use a basic software program to plug a few details into a pre-existing form, you will not derive as much protection as you would from bespoke documents tailored to your circumstances. Instead of making full use of your estate planning documents, you might just be covered for the bare minimum.

You may try to do something illegal

Maybe you want to disinherit your spouse because you don’t feel like you can divorce them, or perhaps you want to leave instructions for your executor to avoid paying a specific creditor at all costs. If your estate planning instructions violate state law, your will may not hold up in court when challenged by family members or when scrutinized by a judge.

Creating custom estate planning documents will offer the best protection and return on investment possible for someone thinking about their legacy.