Online Will Makers: Eliminating the Stigma

concerned people

Ever since Freewill came up with the brilliant idea of repositioning online will makers in the nonprofit marketplace, there has been much debate over whether we should give donors the opportunity to draft a will with a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach.

I’ve always felt that encouraging donors to create a will is in the best interests of any nonprofit. After all, they can’t leave you a planned gift without one. Whether they do that by hiring a lawyer or by choosing a DIY approach is a deeply personal decision, though — and it’s not our job to take sides.

Online will planners are nothing new. Believe it or not, they have been around over 22 years (we had something similar in 2001). They’re a safe, secure, and proven technology. And they’re all essentially the same product, because legally, they have to be.

The biggest difference, then, is in their marketing and positioning. During the height of the COVID pandemic, savvy marketers saw a chance to popularize an existing product that allows folks to get their legal affairs in order without leaving their homes. Since then, folks have been flocking to online will makers, including our own, the LegacyPlanner™, which was designed specifically with nonprofits in mind. And according to several reports, nonprofits using them are seeing a massive uptick in related bequests.

The Stigma

Yet despite those facts, and the fact that more than 60 percent of Americans lack a will, there are a lot of nonprofits that are still afraid to encourage donors to use an online will planner. It’s a stigma that’s hurting both the nonprofits (which are missing out on a lot of bequests) and their donors who lack a will (who are putting their loved ones at risk).

When it comes to creating a will, people have a lot of reasons for procrastinating.

Many just don’t care to deal with the uncomfortable subject of their own mortality. A lot of folks take an “I will do it later” approach, because they feel they’re too young to worry about dying. And some of them just don’t care.

But it seems that most people avoid creating a will because they fear it’s going to be too expensive: They’re more worried about shelling out large sums of money for a lawyer than they are about leaving their families with a legal and financial mess.

We’ve Got All The Reasons Covered

That’s where our new product, the LegacyOrganizer™, comes in. Not only will the LegacyOrganizer™ likely cut your donor’s legal bill in half, it’s a sure-fire way to get them thinking about making a will.

The LegacyOrganizer™ works as a “seed” to get your donors started, without an attorney, on the most important document they’ll ever complete. Why pay an attorney $225 an hour just to collect data, when your donors can do this footwork themselves long before meeting with a lawyer? The LegacyOrganizer™ will get your donors thinking about their life, assets, and potential to leave behind a legacy. It will encourage them to discuss their estate plans with their family, consult with their spouse or life partner, and stop procrastinating. And the whole process of thinking about life, legacy, purpose and mortality may just create a stronger familial bond.

The LegacyOrganizer™ is the perfect, no-pressure method for fundraisers to get donors and prospects thinking about estate planning (and your nonprofit!). After they’ve completed filling out their information in the LegacyOrganizer™, they can take it to an estate attorney to complete the process. It is the perfect happy medium between the DIY LegacyPlanner™ and hiring an attorney full time. And it is definitely better than not drafting a will at all.

Creating a will is the most important thing your donors can do, both for their families and for themselves. It gives them control over what happens to their hard-earned assets; can reduce unnecessary taxation, and allows them to shape their own legacy.

It’s time to end the stigma around encouraging donors to create estate plans. LegacyOrganizer™ is the perfect, no-pressure tool to get your donors thinking about making your nonprofit part of their legacy.

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