So, what's the catch?
Last week, the ETV Endowment announced a new member benefit – access to make a free will and other estate planning documents – through the online service FreeWill.com. If you read our FreeWill email or listened to the announcement on South Carolina ETV or South Carolina Public Radio with a healthy amount of skepticism, you’re not alone! My own husband asked me “So, what’s the catch?”
It is estimated that 70% of Americans do not have an up-to-date estate plan, and we want to help. The ETV Endowment is building upon our ongoing commitment, along with many other public television stations, to raise awareness about the importance of estate planning to protect yourself and your loved ones, no matter your age or financial status. This spring we are taking our commitment to the next level and offering, as a member benefit, the ability to make a no-cost will in a safe and easy-to-use environment by partnering with FreeWill.
FreeWill will NOT:
• Sell or rent your information to third-parties.
• Share your personal information with the ETV Endowment UNLESS you authorize FreeWill to do so. IF you choose to include a bequest in support of the ETV Endowment and you give FreeWill permission, we will be notified of limited personal information and gift details; no other personal or estate information will be shared with the ETV Endowment.
• Try to upsell you through the course of making your will. The full and complete service is available to you at no cost and is provided by the ETV Endowment as a member benefit.
• Have access to our donor database or your brokerage or IRA accounts, or handle any transfer of funds.
• Allow your data to be vulnerable. You can learn more about FreeWill’s security measures here.
After talking to colleagues at public television and radio stations across the county, the consensus was that this was a member benefit of true value to our supporters, and we hope you will agree. Please check out this recent review from US News and World Report of the best online will-making programs:
You can use FreeWill to help you create a document in just 20 minutes. As you work through the steps, if you realize that your estate is more complex than you initially perceived, you can still benefit from the site. FreeWill provides free forms you can fill out to take to an attorney, which can save time and funds. The site states that you might want to pair its services with a lawyer if you have a larger estate, a child with special needs or complicated family dynamics. In addition to wills, the site offers related legal planning tools like advanced health care directives, beneficiary designations and durable financial power of attorney. FreeWill is able to offer its tools for free via partnerships with nonprofits.
Creating an online will may not be the right fit for you OR it might be the right tool to get you started with your planning process. You can decide! As with all estate planning, we encourage you to consult with an attorney or financial planner.
Still have questions? Please feel free to contact me at 877-253-2092. Thanks for taking the time to learn more about our partnership with FreeWill and for supporting the exceptional programs on SCETV and SC Public Radio!
Director of Planned Giving