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Part 2 – Integrating online wills in your legacy offer

In the June 1st blog post, we explored the importance of integrating an online will writing service in

In the June 1st blog post, we explored the importance of integrating an online will writing service in your charity’s legacy offer, as well as who is a good candidate for online wills. In this instalment, we continue exploring this interesting and growing solution by weighing in on their pros and cons for charities and donors.



For donors

  • Saves time and money when compared with other estate planning methods.

No need to book an appointment with an expensive legal professional (after all the online will has already been verified by legal professionals in the donor’s jurisdiction), it’s done quickly and securely.


  • Accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection.

From the comfort of your donor’s home or office, the online will can be done quickly.


  • Easy to update to reflect life changes.

Whether the donor has a newborn child, purchased a new property, or lost a partner, the online will can be retrieved and updated.


  • Fantastic option for those with simple estates.

You can go back to the June 1st post to see what qualifies as a simple estate.


For charities

  • It reduces donor inertia around will writing.

Getting individuals to understand the importance of having their affairs in order is perhaps one of the biggest challenges that national legacy marketing campaigns have to contend with. Online wills offer a simple solution to overcome this. 


  • Easy start for enabling charities to accompany the donor.

Charities can make its online will service an important part of donor engagement for its enquirers and considerers.


  • It integrates will completion and gift notices into one simple step.

This means that the charity receives a notification when a donor has completed their online will so it can follow up and engage in a more personalized way.


  • Expanding your reach to other donor segments.

Younger donors that aren’t in the charity’s immediate radar may use the solution which can then be put through an engagement loop.


  • Great lead generator.

Anyone that visits the charity’s website will see this as a simple solution that can meet their needs. 



For donors

  • Depending on the donor’s place of residence, they can be less legally binding than traditional will documents.

Jurisdictions vary and the charity or the donor will have to verify if they’re considered legally binding.


  • The will  may still need to be reviewed by a legal professional.

Much like the previous point, verifying procedures in the jurisdiction where the donor resides will be important.


  • The will may be disputed over its validity.

Again, depending on the donor’s jurisdiction, the will may not be considered valid or legally binding.


  • May not be valid if moving to a different country.

If the donor moves to a new country, the current will may not be recognized in their new country. In this instance, the donor will need a will for their assets in the country where they reside.


  • Difficult to access if the person loses their online password.

Due to the confidential nature of wills, security and privacy is extremely important. The donor will need to ensure they saveguard their login credentials to avoid losing their will should they forget their password.


For charities

  • Not all online will providers are created equal – do your homework!

There are an increasing number of vendors and not all will offer the same features, benefits, and functionalities. Assess your charity’s and donors’ needs and then do a thorough review of the vendors in your market.


  • It doesn’t guarantee the charity will be in the will.

The charity must nudge the donor to include the charity in their will but this doesn’t mean they will. As such, you must accept the possibility that not all donors will follow through.


  • It can be challenged or deemed invalid.

As with traditional wills, beneficiaries can contest the content or the validity of the online will.


  • Not a ‘set it & forget it’ solution.

This is the most important element of this process – whether a donor confirms their pledge with an online or traditional will – the charity must have taken the time to think through how they will continue the recognition celebration. Remembering that a will can be changed at any time, the charity must focus on continuing to build trust, show true impact, tell stories, and celebrate the donor’s pledge. Be creative, don’t limit yourself to traditional engagement opportunities – seek to delight and amaze your donors in a mission-focused way.



While online will services may not be for every donor or for every charity, it is a worthwhile service to explore and to consider adding to your legacy offer. Keep in mind that it’s not a panacea so take the time to weigh in costs, advantages, disadvantages as well as subsequent recognition and engagement opportunities after the pledge confirmation. Good luck!

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