Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Making Wills Easier and Cheaper with Do-It-Yourself Options

WillPeople are bombarded with different avenues of technology and advancements, and with these advances come the benefit of convenience and decreased expense for undertakings that seemed out of reach for some. While it is recommended that every person over the age of 18 possess a legal and valid will, numerous people saw them as too cumbersome and expensive - or in selected cases if unnecessary as they may have limited assets to pass on to heirs. In fact, a recent survey by Caring.com found that 60% of Americans do not have a will in place.

Patrick Schmitt, co-founder and co-chief executive of FreeWill, said he set out to offer wills that were easy to create and update, and the site even allows users to leave money to charities. Their business models works in that the company receives money from the charitable institutions that pay a fee for using the FreeWill service to reach out to donors. Schmitt had worked during the Obama administration on the Democratic National Committee’s midterm fund-raising team and was frustrated in with the availability of estate planning service online.

Attorneys disagree over to what degree technology can substitute for legal counsel. Richard A. Behrendt, a trust and estates lawyer outside Milwaukee, said, “There are so many things that can be done improperly or planning opportunities that could be overlooked if you’re just sitting at your computer trying to make a one-size-fits-all will work for you.”

See Paul Sullivan, Making Wills Easier and Cheaper with Do-It-Yourself Options, New York Times, September 7, 2018.

Special thanks to Richard A. Behrendt, Esq. (Wisconsin Estate & Legacy Planning Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.) for bringing this article to my attention.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  


Current Affairs, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Technology, Wills | Permalink


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