COVID-19 Increasing demand for Online Wills
- posted: Apr. 17, 2020
- Estate Planning
With the spread of COVID-19, the demand for wills have increased. As of April 16, 2020, S.C. has around 4,206 cases of COVID-19. There have been 111 deaths according to the SC DHEC website. Hopefully, COVID-19 will past soon, but families should always have a plan for how to handle their estates after death. I can’t tell you the number of families I have seen become divided after the death of a loved one over property disputes.
Many people are seeking assistance through online services to draft their will. Is this okay? My general response is no. I met with a gentleman recently who was assisting his mom after the death of his father. His father had created a will through an online service. The documents were hard to understand and had many mistakes. The problems his father was trying to prevent were not avoided. Several of the family members began to fight about who should get the property, and because you can’t predict how family will act after your death you should make provisions for the division of your property.
Generally, online services provide no legal advice or very little guidance on preparing the will. There is no one to tell you when you have made a mistake; Did you leave someone out? The potential for problems is great when you use a form online to carry out your final wishes.
Because of these errors the probate process will probably be longer, family tempers will flare, and more money will be needed to get these issues resolved. Isn’t the cost of meeting with an attorney worth it if you avoid an expensive court battle in the end? Most people think they do not have any property that makes it worth creating a will. Generally, this is not correct. There are other considerations also such as whether you have ever had any mental impairments or early signs of dementia? Do you have minor children? Have you been in the hospital lately? Are you wanting to leave a child or spouse out of a will?