FAQs for Online Wills Compared to Attorney Prepared Wills

 In Estate Planning/Wills, Helpful Articles

If you live in Colorado and are considering an online will or having an attorney help you with your Will, here’s what you need to know:

What’s the difference between online wills and Attorney prepared wills?

  • Online wills are either a simple form or software that asks you questions and generates a will.  Attorneys ask questions and provide advice so that they can create a will based on your needs.  Finally, an Attorney will make sure your Will is properly signed and witnessed so that it is valid.  Wills that are defective are thrown out, which means the judge has to make decisions for you.

Are there any dangers to an online will?

  • The online will preparer doesn’t know if you understand the legal terms or questions it uses to prepare the form.  This leads to wills winding up in front of  a Judge in  Probate Court  because the Will doesn’t make sense.
  • Online wills don’t interact with you to help you draft a will that meets your needs.  Instead, the form or the software  makes guesses as to what most people need.  It’s sort of like designing a line of clothing and assuming everyone is a size ten.
  • Online wills usually don’t include the documents that should go with a Will such as a medical durable power of attorney.  Each of these documents has a special purpose and work with the other documents to protect the person who drafts it and their heirs.  Attorneys like me offer all of these documents for a flat fee while most software and forms offer just a will and if they offer the other documents,  they are often separately priced with no explanation of why they matter.
  • If you have assets that exceed $11.7 million for an individual or $23.4 million if you’re married (as of 2021), then there are tax implications that could be significant for your heirs.  If you don’t get help from an experienced attorney, you’re costing your heirs extra taxes.

What is the price difference between an online will and one prepared by an attorney?

  • Online wills can be free or very cheap.  Attorney prepared ones are sometimes flat fee (meaning the attorney does it as a package for a set price) or at an hourly rate.  Attorney prepared wills are usually  more expensive than an online Will, but so is going to Probate Court to figure out a poorly drafted online will or having your will not work properly which can result in a court fight.  Even if the will is valid and no one feels like fighting about any errors in Court, if heirs have to hire an attorney to figure out the will and how to carry it out, it’s far more expensive than just drafting a will properly.

If I do an online will, can I have an Attorney check it?

  • Sure, and many will tell you if your online will is correct or needs changes.   Ask to see if you’d be paying their hourly rate or if they offer a flat fee. I do this on an hourly basis and it usually doesn’t take me that long to tell you if it works or needs fixing.


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