Suffice to say, there was once a day that we’d pay our month-end bills—rent, credit cards, utilities—by sending a check through the mail (yes, snail mail). That process incorporated some serious calendar juggling, as we’d have to estimate just how many days prior to “due date” we’d have to drop the bill in a pre-addressed envelope marked for some bank in “Wilmington, DE” in hopes it would arrive on time to avoid the dreaded late charge.
It almost seems prehistoric in today’s environment of simply hitting a few keystrokes on our phones to transfer that money, oftentimes same day as due date.
And then there were taxes. Consider that before the magic of TurboTax, navigating those annual April calculations was effort max that went something like this: await tax forms to arrive in the mail; gather additional forms that didn’t (you’d find them your local library, if you were lucky); gather all personal finance records you’d have compiled over the course of an entire year (pay slips, expense receipts, charitable records, etc.); and then fork over what always felt like a significant portion of any potential tax return to a tax preparer–about whom you likely knew very little, if anything–who would employ multiple calculators to fill various boxes with mind-numbing numerals. In fact, our brains are numb just reading this.
The point is that there are fantastic options for filing taxes online today that well serve the most “accountingly-challenged” of us. But before these options existed, we all suffered through simply trusting a tax preparer with our most intimate of financial ongoings. Because, well, it was the only option. Yet today there are few amongst us who would even pause before trusting online technology to manage this most personal of enterprise: finance.
So why not estate planning?
Let’s start with a few basics: An “estate” is everything one owns when it comes time to, shall we say, part ways with life as we know it. And it’s not just personal property—it’s finances, debts to be paid, real estate, insurance, child guardianship, health-care decisions, funeral arrangements and more. In other words, “estate planning” affects all of us—whether we’re rich or poor, married or single, parents or empty-nesters.
And you know whom else it affects? Those we leave behind: spouses, kids, siblings, parents, business partners, friends. You personally might not check all of those boxes, but safe to say you check some. So even if you’re one who might take a, let’s call it, less-than-selfless approach of “I don’t care what happens to my stuff—I’ll be dead,” know that without an estate plan you’re going to leave a lot endless headaches behind to those very people. Court dates, legal fees, debt collectors, familial infighting and more.
The good news is—much like mailing checks and paying someone to maximize your tax return—gone are the days of dropping thousands of dollars on an estate-planning attorney to decide who’s hustling your Honda Prius and who’s acquiring your Alexa and Apple TV. Not to mention who might have oversight on your kid’s college tuition or the sale of your home.
Enter willing.com, the brainchild of a businessman who teamed up with a Harvard Law-educated attorney. Willing.com makes the once-intimidating process of estate planning seamless, accessible and affordable for all of us, and the site is extremely user-friendly.
How so? You may be familiar with online-legal services like LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer. Well, Willing.com takes it a step even further by providing its customers with software similar to — and even better than — that which those well-compensated attorneys are using to create your will at a much heavier price. The site also specializes in the area of estate planning so there’s helpful guidance and additional documents that will prevent your loved ones from going; read about probate, it’s an expensive and time-consuming process.
Think about that: Willing.com is making available to you the same kind of software that the high-priced attorneys currently use to create your will in their offices–software that minimizes the potential for human error. And just how affordable does Willing.com make it? Prices start at $69 for a personalized, legally- binding estate -planning package for one person. That’s the cost of an oil change–rather than that transmission replacement.