A last will and testament is a legal 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.
Thinking about your end-of-life wishes is already intimidating, but given the fact that hiring an attorney to create a last will and testament can cost an average of $300 to $1,200, it’s not surprising so few people have a will. And it’s getting worse. Caring.com’s annual estate planning survey reports that only 32% of Americans have a will or similar document; that’s a 25% decrease since 2017.
Online will makers are trying to close that gap by making estate planning easier and more affordable. For anywhere from $20 to $100, or even for free, you can create a will that ensures your final wishes are carried out.
We looked at 14 online will makers and chose eight that stood out from the crowd. These platforms were the most comprehensive, affordable, and highly rated among similar services, and each had its own unique feature that made it rise above its competitors.
The 8 Best Online Will Makers of 2020
Best Overall: Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust
Quicken is personal finance and money management software, and Nolo has been publishing DIY legal guides since 1971. WillMaker & Trust combines both companies' expertise to create, in our opinion, the best overall online will maker.
Why we chose it: For $99.99 you get access to over 35 estate planning documents, including a will, living trust, health care directive, and general power of attorney for you, your spouse, and anyone else you want to make a will for. You even get property inheritance documents that many online will makers don’t include or charge a premium for.
Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon with 288 reviews, but there are a couple of weak spots to be aware of. The first is that estate planning documents are not valid in Louisiana, U.S. territories, or Canada. The second is that you have to download the software to your computer, meaning you must have a PC or Mac with a compatible operating system and enough hard drive space.
If you don’t meet these criteria, you will want to choose another option, but if you do, you’ll find Quicken WillMaker & Trust by Nolo the most comprehensive option at an affordable price.
Best Value: Trust & Will
Founded in 2017, Trust & Will aims to make estate planning simple, affordable, and accessible and it's our choice for best value in online will makers.
You can make a will in as little as 10 minutes, and the company even mails your completed documents for free along with instructions to make them legally binding.
Why we chose it: Wills start at $89 for singles and $159 for couples, so while it is more expensive than other options upfront, you have the opportunity to save long-term. For example, if you decide to set up a trust in the future, you can deduct the cost you paid for your will and you can make unlimited updates on either for just $12 a year. Some online will makers require you to purchase a new will and start from scratch if you want to update, or you may have to pay high annual fees to maintain documents.
Your purchase also includes a customized and state-specific last will and testament and supporting health care documents including HIPAA authorization, a living will, and power of attorney. Additionally, you’ll get a year of unlimited updates included.
Trust & Will has a 4.9-star rating with 1,213 reviews on Trustpilot. While it’s a great value for many, if you have a business, investment property, children from a different spouse or partner, or other complex family situation, you’ll want to pick another service.
Best Free Option: doyourownwill.com
Unlike other online will makers that allow you to make your will during a free trial period, doyourownwill.com from Trial Data, Inc., is always free.
Why we chose it: There are many free online will makers, but doyourownwill.com is the most comprehensive. You can get guardianship forms, power of attorney forms, living wills, and more, all for free. And because it’s designed to be free, there are no time limitations for updating or downloading your documents, making doyourownwill.com the best free option in online will makers.
To create your will, you’ll answer a series of interview-style questions and then you’ll be able to instantly download your document in Word or PDF format. The will is valid in all 50 states, and you can duplicate it for your spouse.
doyourownwill.com is best for people with simple distribution plans who own property worth less than the threshold limit for federal estate taxes. The site states that individuals with over $5 million in total assets would be better served by consulting an attorney for their estate planning needs.
Best Comprehensive Option: TotalLegal
TotalLegal.com is a self-help legal document website from Pro Se Planning. Unlike other online will makers that bundle estate planning forms, TotalLegal sells them individually, meaning you only purchase the documents you need.
Why we chose it: TotalLegal is the best comprehensive option in our review for people who have needs beyond simple estate planning. It specializes in business formation documents but is really a one-stop shop for all your legal document needs.
You’ll pay $19.95 for just the last will and testament. Other forms like a living will or power of attorney are an additional charge. When you make a purchase you have instant access to your documents but only 60 days to update and download them. If you want extended access you’ll need a TotalLegal subscription which costs $89.95 per year.
TotalLegal has a 4.6-star rating with 1,482 reviews on Trustpilot. Two things to be aware of when using TotalLegal documents are that they are generated with the marital designation of "wife" and "husband," and the company does not currently provide documents for same-sex marriages.
Best for Making Changes: Tomorrow
Tomorrow.me is an app available for iOS and Android where you can make a free legal will, set up a trust, and purchase life insurance in less than 30 minutes. It was created by over 52 attorneys across the country to make estate planning more accessible, regardless of income.
Why we chose it: It might seem awkward to use an app to create a will, but long-term, it makes updating it simple and easy. As your life and estate planning need change, Tomorrow will guide you in how to update your will, and every time you make a change, you can download and reauthorize your will for free. This makes Tomorrow best for making changes to your legal documents.
In the Tomorrow app, you can complete a will, medical consent, advance directive, power of attorney, and guardianship all for free. When you’re done filling out the questionnaire, Tomorrow will email you a copy of your will for you to print. You can upgrade to Tomorrow Plus for $39.99 a year where you can set up a revocable living trust and a pour-over, will which makes sure everything transfers into your trust.
Tomorrow has a 4.6-star rating from 5,581 reviews on the Apple App Store. The biggest complaint users had was about the app crashing but the developer was quick to respond to all problems. Ultimately, if you’re not comfortable with accessing your will on your mobile device, you won’t like Tomorrow, but if that doesn’t bother you, it’s a solid choice.
Best for Ease of Use: Willing
Willing is an online will making service developed by a team of attorneys. While there are limitations to the lowest-cost plan, it’s still a comprehensive online will maker that will meet the needs of those who are tech-averse or feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating their will and it is our pick as best for ease of use.
Why we chose it: Willing has a sleek design and straightforward user experience. There aren’t many options on its website except to start making your will. Its accessibility and portability make it appealing to people who don't want to spend hours trying to navigate will making software.
For $69 you get a last will and testament, living will, and durable power of attorney. For $299, you get those documents plus a revocable living trust and transfer-on-death deed for your home. You’ll have six months from purchase to make updates and download your documents.
Note that Willing does not include pet guardianship or financial power of attorney documents. If those are important to you, you might want to consider using doyourownwill.com instead. However, Willing does include final arrangement wishes which aren’t typically included with other online will making software.
Best for Charitable Giving: FreeWill
FreeWill is the free online will maker we chose as best for charitable giving. FreeWill is a public benefit corporation that partners with nonprofit organizations and helps people donate part of their estate to charity. Out of over 180,000 wills created on FreeWill, over $1.8 billion has been committed to charity.
Why we chose it: If charitable giving is important to you, then you’ll love FreeWill’s approach to estate planning. It's funded by over 100 nonprofit organizations with a goal of making charitable estate donations easier. And it’s an extremely comprehensive tool, even compared to its paid counterparts, offering free last will and testament, living will, and financial power of attorney documents, qualified charitable distribution, and stock donation forms that are valid in all 50 states. You can change and download your will at any time without making a new one.
FreeWill has a 4.8-star rating from 1,178 reviews on Trustpilot. It's a great choice whether you plan on donating part of your estate or not, but as with any online will maker, is best suited for those with simple and straightforward estates.
Best Customer Service: Rocket Lawyer
Having served 20 million customers and boasting the tagline, "Legal Made Simple," Rocket Lawyer is our choice for best customer service among the online will makers we reviewed.
Why we chose it: When you make a will online, you may be left wondering if you’ve covered everything. Rocket Lawyer provides easy-to-access customer service, with ways to contact lawyers via email, phone, or online chat, and the company promises to respond within one business day. They also have an on-call attorney to answer immediate questions, give customers access to their legal documents library, free 30-minute consultations, and offer secure cloud storage.
Rocket Lawyer charges $39.99 per document, but if you join its Premium membership for $39.99 per month, all documents are included. You can try Premium free for seven days and get a will, living trust, and power of attorney. The drawback is you won’t be able to make any updates or print them after seven days without paying.
Rocket Lawyer has a 4.6-star rating out of 2,176 reviews on Trustpilot. While it's a great service, it comes with lots of legal jargon, so taking advantage of the company's best-in-class customer service will help avoid any confusion.
What Is an Online Will Maker?
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 when you die, your assets are distributed according to state inheritance laws. Having a will can help avoid that scenario and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Hiring an attorney used to be the only way to have a will made. Now with online will makers, you can create your will and other estate planning documents affordably, 24/7, and access or download them instantly.
Who Should Use an Online Will Maker?
If you have a straightforward family and/or financial situation then an online will should work for you. You can make a will online if you have kids, pets, own a home, and have money in investment accounts you’d like to pass on.
However there are very few or no online services that will cover some unique or complex situations, including:
- Having a spouse who’s not a U.S. citizen
- Children with special needs who are receiving state or federal benefits
- Paying out prenuptial, post-nuptial, or divorce agreements that include money paid out after death
- Estates worth more than state or federal estate tax exemption amounts
- Distributing a business
- Paying out to a trust instead of a beneficiary
How Much Do Online Will Makers Cost?
Online will makers can cost anywhere from $0 to $200 with the average falling between $20 to $100.
Most services charge a one-time fee while some charge a subscription to access or update forms. When you’re looking at online will makers, be sure to also check out what it costs to make updates and reprint your documents. A higher fee upfront with no or low-cost fee to access later could save you money over time when compared to a service with a high annual fee or one that requires you to start over with a new purchase.
How We Chose the Best Online Will Makers
We looked at 14 online will makers and narrowed them down to the best based on the variety of legal forms available, pricing structures, the availability of legal counsel, and the product's ease of use. To evaluate the products, we looked for companies that have historically positive user ratings or new companies that are breaking the traditional estate planning mold in some way. Finally, significant weight was placed on the ability to make a state-specific will and the number of states where the will is valid.
All of our top choices offer a variety of documents related to making a valid will, are affordable and accessible to most people, and have solid reputations among users.
Caring.com. "2020 Estate Planning and Wills Study." Accessed November 3, 2020.
AARP. "Cost-Effective Wills." Accessed November 3, 2020.
Trustpilot. "Trust & Will." Accessed November 3, 2020.
Trustpilot. "TotalLegal." Accessed November 3, 2020.
Trustpilot. "FreeWill." Accessed November 3, 2020.
Trustpilot. "Rocket Lawyer." Accessed November 3, 2020.