Will writing surges by 300% amid COVID-19

New figures have revealed a spike in Australians signing up for will-writing services online during the coronavirus crisis.  

Aussie-based digital will-writing platform Safewill reported a 300% increase in site registrations over the period from March to April. 

And according to Safewill CEO and Co-founder, Adam Lubofsky, the sudden surge in interest isn’t surprising. 

“People are looking for a sense of certainty and peace of mind in these uncertain times. Will-writing forms a very important part of that … it provides security around how your assets and loved ones will be cared for after you pass away,” he said. 

“Given social distancing restrictions, whereby people can’t actually visit lawyers and money is tighter nowadays for so many Australian families, spending thousands of dollars on a will with a lawyer isn’t actually a viable option.” 

“And so they’re looking for an easy, affordable alternative that they can access while at home.” 

RELATED ARTICLE: How to prepare your finances as interest rates approach zero

“Even pre-COVID, we were looking at quite rapid growth [in online will-writing], which we expect will continue after this situation has passed,” Lubofsky said. 

He added that contrary to the view of will-writing being a life admin task which mainly concerns older people, many Safewill customers are in fact younger Australians. 

“[They’re] new parents who are time poor and may not have the thousands of dollars that a lawyer could charge to prepare a document.” 

Why is having a will so important? 

A will is a legal document that sets out detailed instructions of how you want your estate - all of your life savings and assets - distributed after you’ve passed away. 

“It provides you with certainty that everything you’ve worked towards, if something were to happen to you, will be treated in the way that you want it treated,” Lubofsky said. 

He explained that will-writing can also save your family a lot of trouble down the line.

“Passing away without a will is a nightmare scenario to any family who, on top of dealing with the emotional strain of the death of a loved one, all of a sudden have a legal battle on their hands to untie your estate in court.” 

“This can result in assets being frozen, people not having access to money, and houses being forced for sale.” 

How can I write my will online? 

With Safewill, the process involves the user logging onto their platform and filling out a questionnaire which takes, on average, about 20 minutes to complete. 

“There’s tips and guides which have been provided by our legal advisors throughout the way, so it’s easy and user-friendly,” Lubofsky said. 

Online will-writing can cost a couple hundred dollars. At Safewill, it is $190 for singles and $285 for couples. At LegalWill, which offers a similar service, a solicitor-checked will is $135 for singles and $220 for couples.

Another essential step to take

In these uncertain times, it also pays to have life insurance under your belt. 

A life insurance policy could give you peace of mind that your family will be financially protected, should you contract coronavirus and pass away. Just remember to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) beforehand, and check for any pandemic exclusions. 

For more information, read our article on the key must-knows relating to income protection and insurance amid the coronavirus shutdown.