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Hi! I’m Josh Elledge, the Chief Executive Angel of SavingsAngel.com and welcome to the SavingsAngel show! I’m podcasting to you from a windy and chilly Orlando, Florida.
I am an extremely busy consumer expert, money-saving advocate, syndicated newspaper columnist, and the guy that turns digital entrepreneurs into media celebrities with UpMyInfluence.com. I love what I do and can’t wait to get going on today’s episode.
In order to help you save more, earn more and live more abundantly on today’s show I’ll be covering:
- How to Make Your Free Will
- The Importance of Having a Will
- The Difference Between a Will and a Trust
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And with us right now, we've got Jennifer Xia. Jennifer, you are the co founder and co CEO of freewill.com. And I am so excited to share this with my savings Angel audience because you guys have cracked the code, wills and estate planning is historically a pretty expensive thing. And so when somebody says, Wait a minute, did he just say free will? And and so Jennifer, please tell us what free will calm does.
So we get the same reaction all the time. People think how could you possibly provide estate planning for free but that's exactly what we do. So we provide people an online website where they can go and complete their will Health Care Directive, Power of Attorney funeral wishes, and soon, revocable Trust, all 100% free. Usually the process takes about 20 minutes or less. And people can do it from the comfort of their own homes, which is pretty different from most people's impression of estate planning, right? You think, couple thousand dollars going to have to find a lawyer and see them in person get filled by the hour, get a super personal and perhaps uncomfortable questions. And to get to skip that entire process and have a free, really easy to understand no legal ease way of completing your really important state plan to keep your family safe, and is really incredible. So we've gotten great feedback.
So there's probably two things that the person listening to us or watching us right now is thinking number one, is this some sort of an advertisement No, it's not. I don't I I we just connected and I absolutely Love the family, everyone needs to have a family will like you absolutely must have a family. Well, I mean, it's just a part of adulting that it's it, I will go so far as to say it is not fair to the people, any of your other family members if you don't put your estate plan in place. So number one, no, this is not any kind of this. I'm just I'm really genuinely this passionate about this service. And number two, Jennifer and this one's going to be on you. Wait a minute, there's some kind of catch what's going on here.
So there's no catch. The product is 100% free. And when Mike asked, Well, how does this organization exist? And so what we do is we make money by partnering with nonprofits and super high impact organizations, including everyone from the American Red Cross and the Heart Association to United Way's across the nation. We are With over 300 nonprofits in order to help support what's called plan giving fundraising, what this means is we make it really easy for their donors to be able to leave gifts to charity when they pass away, establishing not just protections for their family, but also their legacy, you know, how do they want the world to be after they leave this planet? What legacy and mission do they want to stand for. And these nonprofits, help support free will to exist by paying us on an annual subscription basis for the product. And what that means is we don't get any money dependent on who makes a will with us whether or not they leave money to charity, anything like that. The rather is a way for us to support the nonprofit community as well as giving people this incredible free product. And yeah,
so this is really amazing because I would imagine that if someone has just kind of given Will kit and, you know, an attorney to run that through? You know, if they're not prompted, they probably I don't know what percentage of people would actually start naming charities in their will. But I would imagine through the will free will process, the charities are much more likely to be included in estate giving.
That's exactly right. The statistics here are clear. So one, most lawyers do not prompt charitable giving through the process to people through free will, when they are competent, are incredibly generous. they donate seven times more on our website than the national average. And so that is incredibly exciting to us. And just goes to show that there's so much latent intent, I think, from people to do good and give back. You know, this is a document and process that people used to think is very scary, and in fact is a reflection of one's own. And people actually, you know, really appreciate we've heard getting to reflect on that and giving to give back in this way.
So I'm Jennifer, do you have any idea about like, what the average cost of will might be for a family like what is what is the process typically like?
Great question. So the process is typically, that even for a basic will the charges anywhere between 500 to $1,000. As you get more complex, this can easily be in the thousands of dollars. So for example, setting up a revocable living trust, which is a product we're going to launch this year, will usually cost people at minimum a couple thousand dollars and then ongoing maintenance in order to help support that trust over time. In addition usually takes people a couple months, right? You're going to have to go visit a lawyer in person go back and forth with the documents will times coordinate with your family members. And each time the lawyers kind of charging you oftentimes for that time, and, and so it kind of creates a high pressure situation where you feel like, well, if I'm not using every hour, you know, to the best of my ability, you know, I'm getting charged for this. And that can create kind of weird incentives. So, and one thing that we've heard is really nice is you know, people just start and stop the product whenever they want in order to get that feedback and they just don't feel the same kind of pressure in the process.
Now also included at free will calm, people not only can get a will, but they can actually get a living will or a advanced healthcare directive and power of attorney. And I know you're not and you're not an attorney right now. Okay. So give me the non attorney is I don't want to ask a legal question here, but Generally, what are those two additional editor, not a writer, but there's two additional directives or documents. They're very, very important. And I, you know, I would argue just as important as having a will, because, well, I'll let you explain it. And I'll talk about why. I think it's so critical. Again, everyone has a power of attorney, you know, and a living will put in place.
Yeah, so these are two incredibly important legal documents. What they do is they say, hey, in the case that I'm ever incapacitated, and therefore what that means is not able to voice my opinions or make decisions for myself. So say, I'm very sick. I'm in the hospital. You know, who is it who's going to pay my rent and make sure I don't get kicked out right after a long medical procedure? Who is it who is making really important decisions around whether or not I should be resuscitated right or if a certain really expensive medical treatment is worth it. These are extremely emotional and financially complex decisions. And most people who don't have these directives in place are kind of leaving it to chance, you know, they're kind of leaving their family to guess what they wanted. And that ends up being a lot of pressure and really hard. And so what we've seen in the past couple decades is so much support, especially from the doctors and medical community, that people get directives in place, such that, you know, a process that, you know, shouldn't have made them Miss paying their credit card bills or unable to kind of move home after being in the hospital, and or avoided a treatment that the person really didn't want. doesn't happen anymore. And so these documents to usually take people you know, 10 to 15 minutes, you fill out the questionnaire online, you print it, and you sign it with the same witnesses that you Would the will so end to end, you know, just adding an extra 10 minutes to tell your family what your real values are around these topics are incredibly impactful and could save them, you know, 10s of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get right.
Wow. Wow. So I guess, you know, one final question, you know, just in terms of like, the service is, you know, is this going to be a, just a cookie cutter? Will that's not going to stand up in court? Or like, Are there any limitations here, where it's like, oh, gosh, no, that's it's kind of a will. But I get hit, right. It's like, I mean, this is a it's not like this is being cranked out by an intern in a cubicle somewhere. I mean, these are actually you have attorneys that are doing this work.
That's right. We work with attorneys across all of the states in the US in order to develop a best in class product. And, you know, one thing that we've learned Throughout the process that I didn't even know before is even if you go see an attorney today oftentimes are kind of mad living together wills anyway. And there's a lot of human error that can come out of that. And our software, make sure that that doesn't happen. And so if you have more basic needs, the will is hundred percent legal and secure. If you have more complex needs, you can actually go through the process. And our software will alert you that you have more complex leads, and help you find a local attorney, and use all that work that you put into the product to print a document a wishes that you can take to that attorney, and still end up saving time and money. Because you were able to do that planning yourself ahead of time. So really, it's a software solution that's available for everyone regardless of their background. And it is our mission and duty to make sure that you know everyone gets the right solution for them. You know, technology doesn't solve 100% of cases, but it can help get better People into the right frame of mind and know when to bring in, you know, attorneys who are qualified when they need them.
And just one other question on Jennifer and that is the difference generally between a living will and our I'm sorry, a will and a trust. Trust would likely be if you if your holdings are a little bit more complex, right?
That is a general rule of thumb. So trusts are also legal documents, they actually set up. Usually they set up a separate entity in which you move all your assets, and usually during the course of when you're alive. And there are a couple things that are different about wills and trusts. And wills start usually taking being acted upon after you pass away, whereas trusts are kind of oftentimes living entities that you interact with, you know, while you're still alive and trust her oftentimes. Much more complex, much more expensive and take quite a bit of maintenance wheels are just updated. And the last will that you make is your last wishes that stand. I'm sure they're very different products that are, you know, suitable for different means. For example, if you have a child with special disabilities, you might want to put a trust in place in order to make sure that they get the assets that you intend for them at the right time in the way that you hope is delivered. And so we don't pretend to be you know, attorneys giving legal advice. That's not what freewill is here for. But we do help people understand, hey, I have this special circumstance, that might mean that I need to trust
Hmm, well, you have a really great learning section at freewill.com slash learn where it actually that's how I knew to ask the question. there's a there's a whole got dozens of articles here that will kind of go through everything and and help people kind of if you listen, I could just tell you right now like, if you don't have a will get a will if you don't have a living will and a power of attorney, get a living will and a power of attorney, you need to trust that's something you can look at down the road. But in this trust can always supersede this but what you don't want to do is take no action, because you're confused on what your best course of action is going to be too expensive to find out the answer to that. Get the well just just get the will I'm not your attorney speaking I'm your your friendly consumer advocate telling you get a we'll just get that done, get your living will get you try it or get your you know, get your power of attorney put in place. And then, you know, basically once you base camp there, then you can make some decisions on what you want to do in the future moving forward. So that that's my non legal consumer advocate and Boy advice right there. I'm Jenny. One thing Jennifer, I wanted to ask you about was the, the good that you've done. for charities, a lot of this, obviously people are doing their wills. And so they made, you know that that contribution may not happen for decades. But how much has been pledged so far? Through free will.
So we are approaching a billion dollars pledged to charity, which is Wow, so exciting.
You know, you think about that, like, that's a billion dollars and charitable giving that, you know, a very small fraction of that, I mean, is probably all we would have had, knowing what we know about the statistics. And so congratulations on that. That is a lot of good in the world. And you know, if we're not here to do good in the world, then why are we here? So I want to say Congrats. modulations on that, that's fantastic. And you've done getting on close to 100,000 will so nearly 100,000 people have taken advantage of free will calm and gotten there. Well done. All I gotta say, Jennifer is thank you so much for making this available. And and just making it so accessible for people to get their estate planning done. You know, again, as a consumer advocate, I just, I'm very emphatic about this because I've, I've been witness to I've heard stories about if you don't have a will in place, it it can be a complete nightmare for your surviving family, everyone starts fighting over things, it's it and those fights can last forever, you know, till till death, just simply because someone didn't have the forethought to say well, I don't have a lot but whatever. I'm just going to go ahead and make sure people know what I want to have happen. When I do pass, so this is wonderful. I'm so excited about this.
Thank you so much for saying that, Josh, and thank you for the time chatting today.
Awesome. So again, Jennifer Xia, you are the co founder and co CEO of freewill.com. You guys have been talked about in Forbes, AARP, New York Times, Good Housekeeping. You've done close to 100,000 wills already and you have facilitated nearly a billion dollars committed to charity. Jennifer, thank you so much.
Thank you so much.