You probably know how important it is to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of after your death and that your possessions are distributed as per your wishes, by writing a will online. But maybe you still haven’t gotten around to it.
Making an online will is an easy way to get your will online written and your loved ones’ futures secure. It is the ideal way to go about writing a will if you have a straightforward estate, with assets that are worth less than estate tax limits. You can even use a will online writing template to speed the process up even further and ensure you get that all-important legal terminology right.
Why Write a Will Online?
One of the main advantages of writing a will online is affordability. The process costs far less than asking a solicitor to draw your will for you.
Another advantage of making a will online is the quick turnaround. Within half an hour, you are able to have a will completed.
Additionally, you may simply be more comfortable having the opportunity to prepare your own will online, yourself rather than involving a third party in the private details of your life.
When you write your online will, you need to make a lot of important decisions. In fact, thinking through what you want to write in a will online is always far harder than drafting the actual document. It is important that you make careful and considered decisions with regard to your assets, children, and property. To make the process easier, this article outlines the things it is vital to think about before you begin the process of making an online will.
1. Appointing guardianship for your children
Most people are prompted to do online will when they become parents for the first time. In doing so, you are securing the future of your children in the event that you are not around to raise them yourself. When writing the online will, you can nominate a person, also known as a guardian, to take care of your children until they become adults, should they be left without parents at a young age.
When nominating a guardian, the factors you should consider include:
- Whether the nominee has a good relationship (strong bond) with your child
- Similarities in your values, lifestyle, and beliefs
- Whether the guardian has or is planning to have children
- Whether the nominee is able to take on the role emotionally, physically, and financially
It is necessary to discuss your decisions with the potential guardian before including them in your will online. Also, you need to be careful when appointing co-guardians; you can never predict what will happen in the future.
2. Choosing the Beneficiaries of the Will Online
Spouses, children, and extended family members are the most common beneficiaries. When you die, it is most likely that you will want your spouse to inherit your assets but it is entirely your decision who they should pass to.
It is, however, important to plan for unexpected scenarios. You and your spouse could die at the same time, or you could be remarried. In such a case, you may wish that your assets from the previous marriage go to your children. It is important to put down these items on your online will so that your wishes are known when you are not around.
Remember to clearly state the property you own, and the property that you share with a partner or any third party.
Think about all your assets and list them, perhaps in categories. It is important to note down the approximate value of a property and to state whether there are any loans or mortgages attached to it.
Where you have a significant asset such as land or a house, identify whether you independently own this asset or whether it is co-owned with other parties. In real estate, if a property is ‘jointly owned,’ the surviving co-owner will automatically acquire the property at the point of your death.
Also, it is recommended that you know the whereabouts of all the certificates and title deeds to your assets. If they are missing, it will be time-consuming and expensive to replace them when you pass away.
4. Appointing an Executor
An executor refers to an organization or an individual who you appoint to carry out your final wishes as outlined in your will online. When you die, the executor is responsible for managing your property and assets.
The executor role should be well thought through; a nominated family member may feel honored but will need the time and skills to fulfill the role.
It is recommended that you select someone who is a beneficiary to the distributed assets or estate. Having an executor can be a complex process if the person appointed does not have any vested interest in your assets.
In some cases, you might not find anyone who seems fit for the role. In such a case, it is possible to nominate a person who can take care of the role from outside of your family. You can appoint a solicitor, for example, to act as your executor.
5. Choosing What Share Beneficiaries Receive
Beneficiaries may receive a specific share or specific, differing gifts in your will, or they may receive residuary estates. A residuary estate is any portion of the testator’s estate that is not specifically gifted to someone in the will. Each beneficiary’s share should be expressed as a percentage of your assets or residuary estate.
A person not of age, i.e. a child that is under the age of 18 can still be a beneficiary. However, in case you plan to list a minor as your beneficiary, it remains the role of the executor to administer the assets of the minor in regard to the will online terms.
6. Financial Planner Details and Funeral Instructions
It is important to seek out the up-to-date details of your financial trustees, your financial planner, and your accountant. Keep their contact details in a safe place. These details will be needed by your executor to confirm the financial details of the will online.
When preparing your will online, consider your preferred funeral arrangements. This may involve including whether you consider being an organ donor or how your funeral is to be conducted (whether cremated or buried). Make sure you tell your executor or trustees that these wishes are in your will as your will may not be read before your funeral otherwise.
7. Addressing Complex Situations
There may be complexities to your life including disputes within your family, businesses, or complicated financial circumstances. The good news is that your will online can be customized to accommodate all of these. The best way to deal with such uncertainties is by consulting and discussing the circumstances with a solicitor to ensure your wishes are correctly documented.
Common complex circumstances include:
- Previous divorce or family complexities
- Possessing a self-managed superannuation fund
- Supporting a beneficiary with special needs
- Being a company manager
Choosing an online will has many advantages overpaying a solicitor to do it for you, including cost, ease, and speed. However, it is just as important that you think through all the various important decisions that go into writing a will online in the same way you would with a solicitor-drafted will.
Whether you consider a do-it-yourself kit or hire professional assistance, an online will can make circumstances simple for those you love when you die. It is important to keep in touch with your executor and other trustees to ensure that your wishes are known and will be implemented.