A last will and testament is a signed and witnessed document that allows you to spell out how you'd like your assets to be distributed to family members, friends, or even charitable organizations after you're gone. You can also use a will to name legal guardians for minor children, assign a caretaker for pets, and name an executor. A will can make the probate process smoother for your heirs since it acts as a guiding document for your executor and the courts to determine what to do with your assets.
On average, hiring an attorney to create a last will and testament can cost $940 to $1,500. Choosing to make a will online, on the other hand, may only cost $100 to $250 – some online will makers cost even less. When making a will online, it's important to understand which assets to include and what documentation you'll need. When choosing an online will maker, look for what makes it a cut above the rest in terms of simplicity, guidance, updating, and more advanced estate planning. Read on to find the best online will maker for your needs.
The 8 Best Online Will Makers of 2020
- Quicken WillMaker & Trust: Best Overall
- Rocket Lawyer: Best for Frequent Changes
- LawDepot: Best for Something Simple
- LegalZoom: Best for Ease of Use
- Do Your Own Will: Best Free
- Willing: Best for Mobile Device Creation
- TotalLegal: Best for Comprehensive Legal Planning
- US Legal Wills: Best for Making Multiple Wills
Best Overall: Quicken WillMaker & Trust
Quicken's WillMaker & Trust program is touted as America's #1 estate planning software. For $89.99, you can create a last will and testament, along with other estate planning documents such a healthcare directive or letter to survivors.
Your software is regularly updated to ensure that it adheres to legal guidelines for the year in which you purchase it and is downloadable for both Windows and Mac users.
The Willmaker & Trust software uses a questionnaire format to guide you through which documents you need. From there, you can create your will and check with the user-friendly manual to help answer any questions you might have.
Estate planning documents are not valid in Louisiana, U.S. territories, or Canada.
Why We Chose It: Quicken WillMaker & Trust gets top marks for being easy to use and exceptionally comprehensive all for a one-time flat fee.
Best for Frequent Changes: Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer provides affordable legal services to millions of people, including last will and testament creation.
When you start a seven-day trial, you can create your will online for free. If you opt to continue your Premium Membership after that, the cost is $39.99 per month. As a member, you have access to:
- Unlimited legal documents
- Free help with legal questions
- Discounts on legal representation
- The ability to edit, print and share documents as needed
Will creation is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to wills, you can create other documents, such as power of attorney forms, lease agreements, and business contracts.
Why We Chose It: Because Rocket Lawyer has unlimited documents, users can make as many changes as desired while they still have the subscription and get legal support when doing so.
Best for Something Simple: Law Depot
LawDepot is an online resource for legal document creation, including wills.
It's free to create an account and make a will online for the first seven days; after that, your monthly subscription price increases to $33. You can also purchase a one-year Pro membership for $95.88.
You can create a will with LawDepot in as little as five to 10 minutes. The software guides you through a series of questions and uses your answers to make your will. You have access to an online law library, as well as email and chat support if you need help.
Why We Chose It: LawDepot is easy to use for someone who just needs a simple will document and doesn't require advanced help from an attorney.
Best for Ease of Use: LegalZoom
LegalZoom is a highly recognized name in legal document creation. One of the strongest marks in its favor as an online will maker is how easy it is to use.
LegalZoom offers three pricing tiers for will makers:
- Basic: $89, create a legal will for your state with up to 30 days to make free revisions.
- Comprehensive: $99, includes everything in Basic and a 14-day trial of Attorney Advice.
- Estate Plan Bundle: $179, includes everything from Basic as well as a financial power of attorney, living will document, one year of Attorney Advice, and free revisions.
To make your will, you just have to complete LegalZoom's questionnaire, which can be done in 15 minutes or less.
Why We Chose It: LegalZoom makes creating a will online easy and virtually painless. Plus if you have questions, you can reach out to customer support or consult a LegalZoom attorney for advice.
Best Free: Do Your Own Will
Do Your Own Will from Trial Data, Inc., is a will-focused website dedicated to helping people learn about the will making process. Unlike other online will makers that allow you to make your will during a free trial period, Do Your Own Will is 100% free.
Making a will is simple. You choose your marital status and the number of children you have, name an executor and specify which assets to include and how you'd like them to be distributed. From there you can download your will as a Word document or PDF, print it out, and sign it.
Legal support isn't included with this online will maker but there is an FAQ section to answer basic will and estate planning questions.
Why We Chose It: Do Your Own Will is a no strings attached way to create a will online for free. It's easy to make a basic will and update it as often as needed.
Best for Mobile Device Creation: Willing
Willing is an online will making company that is designed to appeal to people who want to get their estate plan finalized on the go.
When you create a Willing account, you can make a will as well as other key documents, including a durable power of attorney, living will, and revocable living trust. Willing offers an extensive online library of educational articles to explain these documents.
Will forms are fill in the blank and it's free to get started. To download, print, and sign your will, however, there is a $69 fee.
Why We Chose It: Willing's accessibility and portability make it appealing to people who don't want to spend hours trying to navigate will making software.
Best for Comprehensive Legal Planning: TotalLegal
TotalLegal offers everything you need to create an estate plan, including last will and testament documents.
You can create a will for any state online using a questionnaire format. Once you complete the online interview you can download your will, print, and sign it.
It's $19.95 to create a will or you can sign up for a membership plan. Plans start as low as $7.49 per month and include document creation, document storage, and access to free and discounted attorney services.
There's a detailed online help center if you have questions about making a will or drafting other legal documents. Customer service is also available by phone and email.
Why We Chose It: TotalLegal is a one-stop-shop for all legal document creation anyone might have for personal needs.
Best for Making Multiple Wills: US Legal Wills
US Legal Wills is a leading online provider of wills and other legal documents. You can make a will in 20 minutes or less by answering a series of guided questions approved by an attorney.
Wills are available in all 50 states and a single will document is $39.95. If you'd like to make a mirror will for your spouse, you can do so at a discounted rate of $23.97. Wills can be stored online allowing unlimited updates free for one year.
US Legal Wills offers a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you're not satisfied with your service.
Why We Chose It: US Legal Wills makes it easy to create multiple wills, store your will documents online, and update them as needed.
What Do Online Will Makers Do?
A last will and testament is a legal document that allows you to specify what you want to happen to your assets after you pass away. If you don't have a will in place and die intestate, your assets are distributed according to state inheritance laws. Having a will can help avoid that scenario and ensure that your assets are passed on according to your wishes.
Keep in mind that once you have a will in place, you may need to update it to account for life changes, such as having a baby, getting married or divorced, or buying and selling real property such as a home. You can make updates by drafting an entirely new will or attaching an addendum to your existing will.
Are DIY Wills Legal?
Online will makers are just as legitimate as a will drafted by an attorney when executed correctly. Generally, for an online will to be considered legal it needs to meet these requirements:
- The document must include a declaration that you, the will maker, are of sound mind and legal age to make a will.
- It must be signed by you.
- The will must also be signed by the appropriate number of witnesses subject to state laws.
Should I Get a Will?
It's helpful to have a will in place if you have assets that you'd like to pass on to your heirs, minor children you'd need to name a guardian for, or pets you'd like to leave in the hands of a caretaker. It may only make sense to forgo a will if you have no assets at all or you're planning to use another legal document, such as a living trust, to manage your assets during your lifetime and beyond.
Where to Keep Your Will After You Make It
Once you've created your will, you may want to make multiple copies for safekeeping. You could keep one in a fireproof and waterproof safe in your home, another in a safe deposit box at your bank, and another on file with your attorney. In addition to paper copies, you may consider creating a digital copy as a backup in case all paper copies of the will are destroyed.
How Much Should I Spend for an Online Will Maker?
It's possible to create a simple will online for under $100, though you may pay closer to $250 depending on the software program you're using and the complexity of your will. This fee typically covers the creation of the will document and subsequent downloads of the will. Keep in mind that you may pay additional fees for add-on products or services, such as trust documents or a consultation with an attorney.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Estate Planning?
A will can be helpful in planning your estate but it's just one tool you can use to manage assets. For example, you may also want to explore whether you need life insurance, an advanced health directive, financial power of attorney, or a living trust to manage your estate.
How We Chose the Online Will Making Companies
The online will makers included here were selected based on a number of factors, including the company's history and reputation, pricing structures, the availability of legal counsel, and the product's ease of use. These companies offer the best combination overall for making a will online conveniently and at an affordable price. While there are other online will makers we considered for our review, those options fell short on one or more of our key criteria and were not included here.
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