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Are Online Wills Legal? Know About Validity Of Online Wills

People often write wills with the help of a lawyer. However, it does not mean a will is invalid if there was no attorney present when it was written. If that is the case, does it mean that the will you create or write online is valid? In some states, the answer is yes; online wills are valid. This is thanks to the Uniform Electronic Wills Act, which recognizes electronic or online wills.

You may doubt the validity of your will if you create it online without the help of a legal expert. However, before you shut out the idea completely, here are a few things that you need to know and consider while going for online wills.

Are Online Wills Legal? Know About Validity Of Online Wills

What Is An Online Will?

An online will refers to a document that contains instructions on how a person’s assets and properties will be distributed after their death. The one who writes the will is called the ‘testator.’ Right now, there are multiple websites available that you can access and use to create one. Some of them can allow you to print your digital will if you prefer to have a paper copy of it.

Like traditional written wills, an online will should also include the following information:
• Name of the will’s executor
• Assign a guardian for the testator’s children
• Decide how debts and taxes will be settled
• Back up for living trust

How Does It Work?

There are few ways to make a will without the presence of a lawyer. You can either make an online will or purchase a legal template in some stores. Most online wills can be done through various websites like Willed and other platforms.

Once you’re done creating the document, you can print it out and have at least two individuals sign as witnesses. You can also download and save it for easy updating in the event of major life changes, for instance, divorce or birth of a new child.

Are Online Wills Legal?

As mentioned, different states have various rules about wills. Generally, an online will becomes legal if it meets the requirements of the jurisdiction where it’s executed. For instance, some states only require the testator’s signature, while some require two, even three witnesses who are not interested in your properties. This, of course, means that any of your beneficiaries can’t act as a witness.

Before writing a will, the testator should make sure what the legal requirements are in the state where the testator lives. It may be best to consult with a lawyer to guide you on how to make a will, although it’ll entail additional time and fees if you decide to take this route.

Are Online Wills Legal? Know About Validity Of Online Wills

6 Basic Requirements To Make A Will Valid

Despite the minor and major differences in every state, there are six basic requirements to consider in assessing the validity of a will.
1. Intent: The testator should establish early on that the document will be the last will and additional details that explain how the assets will be disposed of after their death.
2. Age: The one writing the will should be at least 18 years old, which is defined as the legal age.
3. Sound mind: The will should be created by the testator who fully understands why they’re making a will and what its implications are.
4. Executed out of free will: The testator should ensure that he or she has not been forced in any way to create the document.
5. Signatures and dates: The testator, along with at least two witnesses who can attest to the former’s identity and state of mind, should sign the document. Dates should likewise be affixed to the document.
6. Witnesses: Depending on the state, the testator may be required to have at least two or three witnesses, including a witness affidavit as recognized by a notary public, in some states. A testator can also use a self-proving affidavit to facilitate a seamless probate process. Although rare, some states do allow a testator to create a handwritten holographic will that doesn’t require witnesses’ signatures.

If any of these basic requirements are not followed, a state may invalidate the will, and the court may dismiss it. Additionally, a legal and valid will is not immune to being challenged or questioned, especially if the person making the will has a complicated situation. This is especially true in cases where stepchildren are involved, or if there are properties co-owned with a non-relative, such as assets acquired through business partnerships.

The Bottom Line

A will is perhaps one of the most important documents you’ll ever create in your life. In part, the future of your family and loved ones rely on it. Luckily, it’s now possible to create this kind of legal document form faster and easier through various online services.