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What are the Risks of an On-Line Will?

By Barry Peters | Aug 5, 2019

As you consider your estate plan options, you should always ask “What are the Risks of an on-line Will?”

The risk is that the wrong person may end up inheriting everything you’ve earned and collected over your lifetime.

So, what are the weaknesses of setting up an on-line Last Will and Testament or a Family Trust? Where can such a document go off the rails? There are two ways.

First Risk: Misunderstanding the Document

First is the risk of misunderstanding what the document says. In our probate work, it is surprisingly common for family members of a person who left an on-line Will to be surprised at the Will’s provisions. They will often insist that the provisions buried in the fine print of the document are not what the person who passed away wanted. But, of course, at that point, it’s too late to remedy the mistake.

Second Risk: Failure to Sign Properly

The second major risk is that the signing of the Will was defective.

With a few narrow exceptions, Idaho requires all Wills to be witnessed by two people. And preferably, it should be notarized, as well.

So, if there are no witnesses, the Will is invalid, even if it has been notarized. If there’s only one witness, the Will is still invalid.

Conclusion

In our probate practice, something approaching half of all Wills created on line are invalid because of the violation of either (or both) of the principles stated above.

For clients who use our services, we make sure that the document says exactly what the client wants. And we make sure the signing, witnessing, and notarization all are compliant with the applicable rules.

That way, you can always rest assured that your Will – or your Family Trust – will accomplish exactly what you want.

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