The pandemic has many of us taking a closer look at end-of-life care and what to do when loved ones die. Now, a startup in Greenville is looking to make arranging estate planning — including creating last wills and testaments — easier by making the process electronic.
Attorney Tyler McLeod and software developer Erick Arbe are co-founders of Willio, a company that allows clients to digitally create, edit and store wills and other estate planning documents — including the electronic will. So far, four states have adopted laws that allow for electronic wills — Nevada, Indiana, Arizona and Florida. South Carolina is not one of them so Willio is planning to launch its electronic will in Florida first.
With COVID-19 restrictions in place this past year at hospitals and without laws allowing electronic signature, many wills were being signed in parking lots, says McLeod.
The issue that many faced, McLeod and Arbe say, is that traditional wills require the witnesses and notary to be physically present when the person is signing the will.
“I thought it was always kind of antiquated how we would still sign [wills] — we’ll have a pen and paper and then put it in some firebox or a safe deposit box, and then expect somebody to have that in 30 or 40 years,” McLeod says. “And then we’re always scrambling, like, ‘Where’s the will? We’ve lost it. Somebody switched it up with the copies. And now we only got a copy.’ And I’m just thinking, ‘This is the 21st century, you know? Why do we have these problems?'”
McLeod has even gone to D.C. to discuss this issue with fellow attorneys from across the country.
Clients can go on to Willio’s website to create a variety of estate planning documents such as a power of attorney online form.
“You go on and answer all the questions. We tried to make it real user-friendly, and easy to read. We even did nice tutorial videos on there,” says Arbe.
Willio began its first phase of the electronic will in mid-February 2021. McLeod says the technology is there for this to be a success.
“With blockchain technology and other similar technology, the electronic will could be stored securely and safely. So I believe the future of estate planning is electronic wills, and therefore the future of Willio is becoming the platform which enables people to create electronic wills,” he says.