The coronavirus health crisis has forced Americans to re-evaluate their end-of-life plans. As shelter-in-place orders confine people mostly to their homes, many are turning to the internet to meet their estate planning needs, especially in states like Michigan with high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
So, is online estate planning the way to go? The answer is mixed. Online estate planning tools can offer anxious people a quick and affordable solution, but the lack of customization and personalization can cause issues in the future. If you need to create an estate plan, here’s what you should know about making one online.
Estate Planning Online: What You Need to Know
Effective online estate planning requires you to know exactly what assets you have, how you want to protect them, and who should be responsible for seeing those wishes carried out.
1. You Need to Have All Your Assets Listed and Know Exactly How You Want Them Addressed in Your Estate Plan
When you’re ready to prepare your will or estate plan, you’ll need:
- A list of your major assets, like your vehicle, house, or other valuables
- A list of whom you want to inherit the items after you pass, with backups in case the primary inheritors are not able to receive the items
- Who will oversee the distribution of your estate
- Who will serve as the guardian of your children and who will manage their property and accounts
- What will happen to your pet, if you have one
- Whom you want to have power of attorney and advance healthcare directives
Estate plans are meant to protect what matters most to you, so if you have questions about a specific element or part of the process, it’s in your best interest to consult an attorney who can listen to your concerns and make sure they’re addressed. Otherwise, a misunderstanding during the process could lead to trouble in the future when your last wishes can’t be carried out the way you intended.
2. Online Templates Aren’t Always Comprehensive or Customizable
Digital templates offer an easy and seemingly simple way to do estate planning online. They’re also extremely affordable — you can often find basic packages for less than $100.
However, these templates can lead to more trouble than they’re worth and cost your loved ones time and money down the road. Online will-creation tools often omit critical estate plan components that the average person wouldn’t think to look for.
Additionally, many “custom” solutions only offer drop-down menu items for users to choose from, so it’s impossible to make a completely tailored and customized document. This might not seem like a big deal, but these templated wills can end up incomplete and difficult for a court to interpret. The resulting confusion can inflict anxiety and cost your loved ones time and money as they try to sort matters out.
3. You Can Hire a Lawyer and Get Expert Help Without Leaving Your House
Making a will online seems like an intuitive answer, especially during coronavirus lockdown. However, when you need to make a will from the safety and comfort of your home, your best option is to hire a lawyer who can work with you remotely.
At the Law Office of Kari Santana, we have over a decade of experience helping West Michigan families and individuals protect their last wishes using customized estate plans. We’re working with clients remotely during the coronavirus crisis, so we can learn about your situation and find a customized solution that meets your needs, all without you having to leave your home.
The Benefit of Having an Estate Plan in Times of Crisis
Comprehensive estate plans are one of the best ways to give yourself and your family peace of mind in uncertain times. Benefits of having an estate plan in place include:
- Naming who your children’s guardian would be in your absence
- Making sure your children receive an inheritance that protects their future
- Having a plan in place for your healthcare and end of life plans
- Ensuring that the people you want to inherit your property can do so instead of leaving the process up to Michigan’s intestate laws
- Making sure your pets go to good homes where they’ll be taken care of
For many people, the value of having their wishes carried out and the confidence that comes with a thorough and fully customized estate plan far outweighs the cost of working with an attorney and creating the documents.
Need to Make a Michigan Estate Plan From Home? Call the Law Office of Kari Santana
At the Law Office of Kari Santana, we have over a decade of experience helping West Michigan families protect what matters most. We’re here to support you during the coronavirus crisis by helping you create estate plans remotely, so you never have to leave your house.
To schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you create a personalized estate plan, call us at (616) 717-5759 or fill out our quick and easy consultation form below.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.