3 Things To Note When Doing Your Will Online
Estate Planning isn’t easy. It requires difficult conversations, careful thought, multiple trips to the lawyer's office, and hefty fees, right? Well, not really. Whilst there is the option of going the traditional route of visiting a lawyer's office and undertaking expensive legal fees, there is a more affordable option of doing your will online.
Doing your will online also offers you the privacy and comfort of doing your will from the comfort of your own home - after all, a making a Will is a private affair, no?
However, searching for a suitable online service provider to make a Will online is not the easiest. We'll cover the 3 main things you need to take note of when choosing an online service provider to do your Will with, and why they are important.
Hopefully by the end of your read, you'll be able to spot a good online service provider from a mile away. oh, BONUS, read to the end for the recommendation on the one we think is the best.
Tip 1: Choose a online service provider that provides for lawyer reviews
We understand the struggle. Lawyers are expensive, and online service providers are cheaper, and more convenient - so what's not to like?
Well, Wills are legal documents, so naturally unless you can write and read legalese, approaching a lawyer to draft one is your best option. In addition, Wills are governed not only by the Wills Act of Singapore, they are also governed by substantial amounts of case law. Case law is simply law that exists via cases that have been decided before the Singapore Courts. That's not even considering the laws that are not directly concerning Wills, but are closely related to Wills that affect the interpretation and efficacy of a Will (e.g. the Intestate Succession Act, the CPF Act and the Civil Law Act). Details here.
So is the solution then to pay exorbitant fees just to have a lawyer draft you a Will? Well, not really.
The hack here is to use an online service provider that is run by a law firm, or is partnered with a law firm. This will allow you to get the benefits of convenience and affordable pricing, together with the expertise of the lawyer.
Note here that most online service providers state that their 'templates' are developed by lawyers. This means that in developing their platform, they engaged lawyers to draft a series of templates that they then use for you. This is not the same as being partnered with a law firm, or being run by a law firm.
If you want the expertise of a lawyer, look for online service providers that allow you to have your Will reviewed by a lawyer. The online service provider drafts your will, and the lawyer reviews it - this will give you the best of both worlds - the expertise of a lawyer at an extremely affordable price, with maximum convenience.
Tip 2: Make sure that the capabilities of the online service provider meets your needs
You definitely do not want to compromise on your wishes to fit your online service provider's capabilities. If the online service provider only can support 3 beneficiaries, and you have 4, it makes absolutely no sense to cut one beneficiary out just to save some money.
It is important to find out if your online service provider can indeed generate a Will that fits your needs.
In particular, you may want to check if your online service provider can provide the following: 1. Enough beneficiaries for your needs; 2. Substitute beneficiaries (i.e. beneficiaries that would receive your estate should your main beneficiaries pass away before you); 3. Specific Assets - these are assets that you wish to give away to particular people (i.e. if you want to give your house to Person A, and 50% of the remaining to Person B and 50% of the remaining to person C, then your house is considered a Specific Asset). 4. Executors & Substitute Executors - All online service providers should allow you to choose your executors, but the maximum allowable by Singapore law is 4 executors, so picking one that allows for up to 4 executors is a good idea. Also, you may want to pick an online service provider that allows you to choose a Substitute Executor (a person that substitutes an executor should the main executors not be able to carry out their duties) should you need it. 6. Testamentary Guardianship Appointment - If you have a young child, this is of paramount importance. A Testamentary Guardian is the person that is responsible for taking care of your underaged child should you and your spouse not be around anymore.
Tip 3: Make sure that the online service provider does not only provide Wills
An online service provider that provides a Will drafting service is all well and good, but Estate planning involves much more than just making a Will. There is also other parts that are important. Besides making a CPF nomination, making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), is also critical should you lose mental capacity.
Picking an online service provider that also allows you to draft your LPA saves you an incredible amount of trouble. An online service provider that provides more than just Wills is also a good indication that they are not just selling templates, but a wholistic solution.
BONUS: Try WillCraft
WillCraft is an online service provider that is set up by ex-lawyers.
The good thing about WillCraft is that they allow you to choose a lawyer to review and witness your will, giving you the legal expertise at a fraction of the cost. With this service, you don't even have to choose your own witnesses! They have their own panel of law firms to choose from and you can choose right from their interface, the linkup after is seamless and easy.
In addition, they do not use templates to generate your Will, instead, they use document assembly to construct the document from scratch every time - allowing them to cover up to 1 million scenarios.
Lastly, the also provide LPA - allowing you to use them as a one-stop-shop for estate planning.