My wife and I have always been a little cavalier about long-term planning.
We're not bad when it comes to setting aside money for taxes--not that it's even an option. We're starting to fill up an IRA account, donate to charity on a regular basis, and we always save up for big purchases. (No credit card debt, knock on wood.)
Yet, we have not dealt with the toughest decisions you can make when it comes to long-term future plans, a.k.a., what happens after we die. We don't have a great plan for a cemetery, just vague ideas. And, we don't have a legal will.
That changed today when I downloaded an app called Tomorrow. Following a few simple steps like adding my wife, our kids, an executor, and the amount of inheritance to divide among our kids, I created a legal will in about 20 minutes. The app lets you do a print out and then, in front of two witnesses, sign the legally binding doc. It's pretty slick and fast.
My only initial "gotcha" is that one of my kids actually lives in Austria, and the app didn't have an option for someone living outside of the United States. When you add family members, they receive a notice that you have added them to a will, and they can then download the app as well. That might comes as a surprise unless you warn them ahead of time.
One reason the Tomorrow app works so well--and why the Seattle company behind it just raised $4.2 million--is that it is a spur of the moment thing. My wife and I weren't intentionally trying to avoid creating this legal document. It's just that we're reasonably healthy...and really busy. Good intentions were not working, though, and lawyers tend to charge you for breathing on them.
It's interesting because these are the apps you can use to make a case for iPhone and Android apps making life easier. Before an app like Tomorrow, I'd probably have to find an attorney, bring some documentation, transmit it the info to my kids, get them to agree to things, sign the docs, and keep the will in a safe place. I really like that the app is free, and I know I can go back into the app and generate the document at any time (and so could be kids).
Another minor glitch to mention is that you may not have your phone configured to print over Wi-Fi. In my case, it was easy--I pressed one button and out came the PDF document. And, it's easy to search for and find wireless printers from both iOS and Android. Those who are not as techie might have a little trouble with this step, although you can easily save the PDF and email it.
OK, so how does the company make money? There must be a referral service for attorneys who handle complex wills, or some add-ons that cost extra, right? I wasn't able to find any gotchas after going through the entire process. The company provides other financial services, of course. So this is a lead generator.
I hope you do take me up on this: If you're like me, and you haven't created a will, it's a smart way to finish the task. Not having a will creates a lot of confusion for loved ones, and it can also create a financial quagmire.
Tomorrow makes it easy, even if the topic is not that fun to think about.