Is my estate too big for DIY online estate planning?
The size of your estate is one of the most important factors in determining whether you are a good candidate for online estate planning. The complexity of your estate also plays a significant role. If you have a simple estate and your needs are straightforward, you may be able to complete estate planning documents online without consulting a lawyer since you may not need to draft nonstandard language. For example, if your assets are fairly modest and you want to create a simple Last Will and Testament that leaves everything you have to your spouse (or in equal parts to your children if your spouse dies with or before you), you may be able to do so online.
If, on the other hand, you have an estate with complex assets, or if you have minor children who have special needs or do not have another parent, you may want to seek legal advice to ensure you get your documents drafted correctly. Whether you have a unique situation, or simply want to make sure you have everything covered, it can help to contact a Rocket Lawyer network attorney.
What estate planning documents can I complete online?
You can find most basic estate planning documents online, and you may be able to complete them online up to the point of printing them out to sign. At that point, many state laws require the signature to be completed in the presence of witnesses or a notary public. Check the laws for the state where you reside to be sure.
A variety of end-of-life and estate planning documents can be completed online, including a:
- Last Will and Testament.
- Power of Attorney.
- Living Will.
- Living Trust.
- Medical Power of Attorney.
- Advance Directive.
What do I need to know before completing these legal documents online?
There are several things worth checking before completing legal documents online. First, find out if the document you’re filling out is structured for residents of your state. Many states have specific language that is required for a document to be valid. This is particularly true in the case of a Medical Power of Attorney and Advance Directive. Next, find out whether there are signature requirements for your document. Signing in the presence of witnesses, a notary public, or both may be required. Finally, find out if there is a lawyer available to review your completed document. A Rocket Lawyer network attorney can review the documents you complete online before you sign.
Who do I give copies of my estate plan to?
Consider carefully how you plan to provide your estate planning information to others, and to whom you plan to provide it. If you have a safe deposit box, you may want to put the original in there, and let your children or executor know where the key is located and who to speak to at your bank to access it. This way, you know that they can access the information, but not until it is necessary to do so. Or you may decide that you want your children or other beneficiaries to know what you have decided in advance. In this case, you can leave a copy of your Will with each of them. You may want to give your children copies of an Advance Directive, but wait to share your Last Will and Testament. In the age of online everything, be sure to leave a password list somewhere as well!
If you would like others to be notified of your estate plan when you pass away, you may wish to consider leaving instructions on who to notify and how they can be reached with the person you have chosen as your executor. You can give this information to them as an addendum to your estate planning documents.
If you have more questions about estate planning, or completing estate planning documents online, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.