Is an online will the same as a will kit?
There are many reasons why we avoid getting a will done. We are all busy balancing the bills, work and the kids, it is easy to bypass preparing a will, notably because it can cost hundreds of dollars. The subject of dying is also not something that many of us like to think about. These are just some of the reasons why some opt to use a will kit.
It is widely known however that lawyers love will kits. Will kits can only cater for a limited number of scenarios, and because of this, they may not be suitable for everyone. There have been unfortunate cases where users have tweaked the printed text of a will kit only to leave their estate at risk of legal challenges.
And this is why lawyers love will kits.
The world has gone digital, and humanity is rapidly moving online. In some cases, the concept of ownership has changed. Our music collections are online, our bookcases are online, and we even have more friends online than we do in real life.
So what happens to all of that when we die?
Social media companies like Google and Facebook are adding functionality that caters to the dearly departed, but the legal industry has also been pretty slow to adapt. Lawyers generally avoid new technologies, and they do not offer succession planning for digital assets like social media profiles and digital currencies.
What About Online Wills
Technology has improved pretty much everything it has touched. LegalTech has already offered solutions for improved billing, document storage and even case management. Soon the use of emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will enhance the industry and make justice more accessible.
So what about moving wills online?
Not being restricted like a printed will kit, online wills can cater for more scenarios. The Uber or Airbnb gig model suggests that lawyers will also be more efficiently available and at arm’s length.
OneWill, for example, offers social media and digital asset estate planning as well as the ability to capture audio and video messages which will allow users to communicate their wishes more clearly reducing the risk of confusions.
It is important to remember that online wills are not for everyone. There are scenarios where you shouldn’t choose an online estate planning solution.
An online will is not necessarily the best option if you are a high net-worth individual, if you have a blended family or if you own a company or a trust.
One thing is for sure, and that is that as the LegalTech industry grows is certainly is not a good idea for lawyers to assume that technology can never do what they do.