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With COVID-19 impacting more and more Americans, individuals across the country are scrambling to set up wills and end-of-life directives.

Over the last two weeks, online will companies have seen an explosion in users, according to the article, “Coronavirus Pandemic Triggers Rush by Americans to Make Online Wills,” published by

However, as online wills grow in popularity, Houston estate and elder lawyers increasingly caution against using them, for several reasons.

8.4.17New regulations from the Department of Labor may come into play for Americans deciding which type of account is best for their retirement savings.

There are significant differences between 401(k)s and IRAs, and as reported in a recent post on, “Advantages and disadvantages to a 401k and an IRA,” a number of new regulations from the Department of Labor makes this a good time to review the pros and cons of these popular retirement savings plans.

401(k): A 401(k) can potentially be less expensive than other investment vehicles, due to the number of participants. Many also have a loan provision for access to your principal, if you need it in an emergency. If you retire early, qualified plans may have an age 55 withdrawal privilege that gets you around the 10% withdrawal excise tax provision.  However, if you’re still working, you may be able to push back your required minimum distribution (RMD), if you’re over age 70 and still participating in the plan. You’ll also have creditor protection in the typical qualified plans. Those are some of the general positives.

Woman on keyboardHistorical wills can offer a window into the past and provide researchers a new perspective on history.   Today, old wills for such luminary figures as Herman Melville, Samuel Morse, J.P. Morgan and many other historical figures, can be easily accessed on the web.

The well-known genealogical website,, spent two and half years scanning 170 million pages of old wills and probate records, and put them in an online database.

While many other countries have previously placed the contents of old wills online, this is a first in the United States on this large of a scale. This development appeared in a recent CNN article, "Paul Revere, J.P. Morgan wills among millions now online."

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