The answer to the question of whether online wills are legally binding is a resounding yes. As long as they comply with federal and state laws, online wills can be just as valid as those created by a licensed attorney. Companies that offer online will services typically hire licensed attorneys and legal professionals to carefully draft estate planning documents, making them legally binding. In some states, there are special laws that govern wills.
For example, some states require that the will be signed only by the testator, while others specify that the will must be signed with the help of witnesses. In some cases, witnesses who are “selfless” are needed, meaning they will not inherit any assets from the will when the testator dies. Additionally, in many states, all parties must sign the will at the end. It is essential to be aware of your state's requirements before creating an online will.
A will is a legally binding document regardless of how it is created. However, you can change or revoke it at any time. An online will can be used to make specific gifts (bequests) of anything you own and name someone to receive the remaining assets (the waste). Affidavits are accepted as if your witnesses testified in court, meaning that the process of validating your will is generally faster since the court can accept your will as valid without requiring witnesses to appear in person.
It is important to note that a living will is a separate legal document that contains instructions on medical decisions and end-of-life care; while a last will relates to matters related to your estate and guardianship of minor children. If you want to distribute your estate to a friend or decide how it is divided between your family, you can only do so if you make a will. In most cases, if you have a simple estate and your will is straightforward, making a will online is a good option. However, it is important to update your will if there are any major life changes such as marriage or divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, the acquisition of significant assets, or relocation to another state or country.
A living will, also known as an advance directive, is your own legally binding document with its own requirements for validity. It is important to make sure that you follow the necessary steps to finalize a will in New York and it's best to use an online will preparation service with templates specific to each state. The advantage of using a DIY service is that you'll have a plan as quickly and cheaply as possible and that may be better than not having any plans at all. Another way to make a will is through an online service such as an app or program which can guide you through the process.
However, it is advisable to consult an estate planning lawyer if you have a large or complex estate or if your will includes complicated conditions. Any type of will that meets specific federal and state requirements is valid in New York, whether made online or not. This is especially true with respect to obtaining a will, power of attorney, and advance medical care directive.