Drafting Your Own Will Online

Do you have a will? I don’t. I also discussed my excuses for not having a will a few weeks ago. I’m happy to report that I’ve moved one step closer to making it (the will) happen.

While doing a little research, I ran across a recent NYTimes article that hashed out the results of an online will experiment.

The author, a will newbie herself, constructed a will on four different sites. The twist?

After testing four programs, I asked an estate-planning lawyer to look over the final drafts for errors or potential issues.

Although I’m not a fan of lawyers, I liked this approach. It lends a sense of authority to the process.

The verdict? Only after I tested all of the online services and analyzed their differences did I really feel as if I had a solid handle on the options available to me and what might be missing.

So, each online will service was adequate but not necessarily complete. As is usually the case, much depends on your home state. Since this test took place in New York, I can imagine there were many nuances before the final, polished product came off the press.

The following are the online will services used in this experiment:

Quicken Willmaker
Legacywriter.com
LegalZoom.com
BuildaWill.com

The risk to using a service like one of the above?

The biggest risk might be summed up by Phillip J. Kenny, a lawyer in McLean, Va., who said that one client came back to him after looking at a software package and said, “I don’t know what I don’t know.”

Read more about drafting your own will online.

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