CONSUMER REPORTS — The pandemic has left many industries struggling to stay afloat. But there are a few that have seen an uptick in business, including companies that prepare wills and other end-of-life legal documents. As Consumer Reports explains, you can get the proper documents—and save money—without ever leaving your home, provided that you take some precautions.
Online wills can be completed in an hour for about $100. It might cost you about $1,000 if you go to a lawyer to draw up a will.
Companies like LegalZoom and Nolo’s Quicken Will Maker offer basic online wills starting around $89. But if you’re going the online DIY legal docs route, be careful.
Many are one-size-fits all forms, which don’t actually fit everyone. That can make an online will pretty ambiguous, which could lead to a court battle to settle an estate.
Still, some kind of will may be better than none at all because if you die without one, state laws will determine who gets what and where your kids will go.
If you choose to make a will online, you’ll eventually need witnesses, and depending on your state, a notary public.
It’s also important that once your will is completed you tell people who are named in it where the document is located.
Other end-of-life documents you can fill out online include an advance directive, which spells out the medical care you want to receive at the end of your life, and forms to appoint a health care proxy, which is someone who can make medical decisions if you can’t speak for yourself.
You can find these forms on the websites of AARP, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and Prepare for Your Care.
For questions you should consider about your end-of-life care and how to choose someone to serve as your healthcare proxy, go to the website of the American Bar Association for its Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning, or the guide from The Conversation Project.