Best Online Will Makers
Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust is comprehensive and affordable
Sarah Li Cain has more than 7 years of experience as a writer, personal finance expert, author, and speaker. She is a candidate for the Accredited Financial Counselor designation and an expert on banking, persona loans, real estate, and insurance. Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature and Education with a minor in Visual Arts at York University. She is the founder of Beyond the Dollar, a podcast aimed at making normalizing talking about personal finance and money topics.
Peggy James is a CPA with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments. She most recently worked at Duke University and is the owner of Peggy James, CPA, PLLC, serving small businesses, nonprofits, solopreneurs, freelancers, and individuals.
Michael Rosenston is a fact-checker and researcher with expertise in business, finance, and insurance.
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A will or trust is a legal document that explains your wishes in the unfortunate event that you pass away. Choosing the right type of document determines whether or not your family will have to go through probate court to settle your estate, among other important information. Because a will or trust determines who gets your assets, it’s something that most adults should have.
We looked at 13 will-making companies with a focus on ease of use, availability in all states, and the ability to make changes or updates. Here’s a look at the top online will makers to get your estate plan on track.
The 6 Best Online Will Makers of 2022
- Best Overall:Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust
- Best Value:US Legal Wills
- Best for Ease of Use:Trust & Will
- Best Comprehensive Estate Plan:Total Legal
- Best for Free:Do Your Own Will
- Best for Making Changes:Rocket Lawyer
- Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust
- US Legal Wills
- Trust & Will
- Total Legal
- Do Your Own Will
- Rocket Lawyer
Best Overall : Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust
- Price: $299.99
- Legal Support: No
- Free Trial: No
Customers get a large number of estate planning documents, and the software itself is easy to use. Plus, you’re not required to have an internet connection, except to download and update the software.
Get comprehensive estate planning documents for a flat rate
Free legal updates for one year
Estate planning documents aren’t valid in Louisiana or U.S. Territories
Need to meet minimum operating system requirements
Not available on mobile devices
Nolo started by publishing DIY legal guides back in 1971 and was one of the first websites to provide online legal information and assistance. It has since branched out into other products, like their Quicken WillMaker & Trust software tools.
This program, which you can download for $299.99, includes key estate planning documents such as a legal will, living trust, financial power of attorney, healthcare directive, final arrangements, and a letter to survivors, as well as other types of personal finance and home and family management documents.
The software is compatible with both Mac and Windows and is easy to use, as it allows you to create customized legal documents using a simple interview survey to fill out forms. You can then save your information and download completed documents in PDF format. You can update your will at any time and receive legal & technical updates via the internet.
Within Quicken WillMaker & Trust, there is a legal manual to help you answer common questions, and you can contact technical support for additional help. Louisiana residents won’t be able to use this software, as it doesn’t address the estate planning requirements for the state.
Best Value : US Legal Wills
- Price: Starting at $39.95
- Legal Support: Yes
- Free Trial: No
US Legal Wills has one of the most affordable will options we’ve seen, offers 40% off forms for partners or spouses, and also has an add-on service to get an attorney to review your estate plan. Plus, it’s one of the only websites that accommodate affordable wills for expats and those who have assets outside the U.S.
Free unlimited updates
Includes forms for assets outside the U.S. and for expats
Discounts for documents for your spouse or partner
No living revocable trust available
Website not as intuitive as other competitors
Signup process for spouses can be clunky
Formed in 2000, US Legal Wills is an independent organization that works with U.S.-based lawyers to create legal documents, including for expats and those who have assets in Canada or the UK. Services are available in all U.S. states except Louisiana and provide some of the best values and discounts of all the websites reviewed.
Starting at $39.95 for a last will and testament, US Legal Wills customers also get free storage for their documents on the company’s secure servers, as well as unlimited updates. If you want to keep storing your documents with US Legal Wills, you can pay annually or opt for the lifetime feature, which is only $124.95, a more economical choice if you plan on storing your will on their servers for more than a few years. Spouses or partners can get a mirror will (plus additional documents) for 40% off.
You can create a variety of estate planning documents on the US Legal Wills website, then designate what the company calls Keyholders, which are people who have access to your documents, such as a trusted family member or executor.
Members can receive additional support by submitting a ticket through the customer service portal. If you want a lawyer to review your estate plan, especially if it’s a more complex one, you can do so for an additional $69 after you’ve completed your documents.
Best for Ease of Use : Trust & Will
- Price: Starting at $159
- Legal Support: Yes
- Free Trial: No
Customers can create their estate planning documents quickly and simply. The company offers an easy way to decide which option is best through the Get Started section of their site, and then fill in relevant details using an interview-style format. We also like that Trust & Will makes it easy for you to make your documents legally binding by mailing you your completed documents for free and providing complete instructions.
Comprehensive learning center
Choose from three options so you can feel less overwhelmed
The website is intuitive to use
Only one year of unlimited updates available
Doesn’t offer free upfront legal consultations
Founded in 2017, Trust & Will aims to modernize the estate planning industry by providing an easy and secure way to create your estate plan online. Document creation is seamless using their user-friendly website and step-by-step path to getting started. The process takes as little as 15 minutes, and the company even mails your completed documents for free, along with instructions to make it all legally binding.
The fintech expert’s state-specific trusts offer pretty much everything you need, including a living will’s schedule of assets and a revocable living trust (one of the only do-it-yourself companies to offer this option), helping your loved ones avoid probate.
Trust & Will has a flat fee for wills of $159 for an individual and $259 for couples. A customized trust costs $599, or $699 for couples. This includes unlimited updates for a year. After a year, you will pay $19 a year for unlimited updates for wills and $39 for trusts.
Best Comprehensive Estate Plan : Total Legal
- Price: Starting at $19.95 or $89 per year
- Legal Support: Yes
- Free Trial: No
TotalLegal is one of the only companies that provides comprehensive legal services that include do-it-yourself business and estate planning documents plus free and discounted services from attorneys through their TotalLegal™ plan.
Low annual or monthly fee
Premium members have access to free and discounted legal services
Ability to create a wide variety of documents
Customers who purchase one-off documents have limited update period
No living trusts available
No online access for executors
Accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2003 and carrying an A+ rating, TotalLegal is part of Pro Se Planning, Inc., which provides self-guided legal products, including estate planning and business formation documents. Customers can purchase and complete individual estate planning documents starting at $19.95 for a last will and testament, which is available in your online account for 60 days (with unlimited updates).
The biggest advantage of TotalLegal is its yearly subscription plan. For $89 a year, you get access to free legal services, including a free consultation, attorney-reviewed documents, and a free will with free updates each year, providing the most comprehensive resources for those needing some guidance.
Document creation is simple, as you’ll go through a series of questions to inform and complete your document, which can then be downloaded and printed. TotalLegal’s help center has extensive information, though you can always call or email customer support if you have any questions.
There are discounted services that include creating a simple will with a trust. You’ll also get access to their document storage vault service, where there are no storage limits.
Best for Free : Do Your Own Will
Do Your Own Will
- Price: Free
- Legal Support: No
- Free Trial: N/A
This free option offers one of the widest varieties of forms without paying for extras. Also, there is no need to create an account or hand over any credit card details—and you can download your documents instantly.
No need to sign up for an account to get access to documents
Available to residents of all 50 states
Ability to save your will as either a PDF or Word document
No legal support
You’ll need to check state laws yourself
Started in 1999 in Seattle, Do Your Own Will is a completely free way to make a last will and testament, power of attorney, or living will. Beyond the unbeatable price, one of the major perks is that it’s simple to use—there is no need to sign up for an account, though you will need to provide your email address if you want to make updates or changes later.
Users complete forms online by filling in details such as marital status, info on dependents, how you want your assets to be divided, and your executor. Download the document as a PDF or Word document, then you can sign it.
It’s available nationwide. One caveat: There is no legal support, so make sure you do your own research to make sure your will is really legally binding.
Best for Making Changes : Rocket Lawyer
- Price: Starting at $39.99 or $39.99 per month subscription
- Legal Support: Yes
- Free Trial: Yes
You get access to all their estate planning documents for one monthly price and can make updates whenever you want. What makes Rocket Lawyer stand out is the ability to get legal advice for new legal issues and the ability to sign your documents securely online, allowing changes to go into effect immediately.
Offers a wide variety of legal and estate planning documents
A free seven-day trial to try out their services
Ability to pay a low monthly fee for premium access
Monthly membership pricier than other options
Need to provide credit card information even for a free trial
Founded in 2008, Rocket Lawyer offers online legal services that include documents and attorney services. Users can purchase individual legal documents for $39.99 each, including wills, trusts, and power of attorney. You can download them immediately once you complete all required information online, and then receive instructions to make them legally binding. Your documents can be securely signed online, plus you can invite others to sign them digitally as well. This allows for updates and changes to be made quickly.
The best value is Rocket Lawyer’s monthly subscription model, which costs $39.99 per month. For this price, you get unlimited access to all their legal documents (including making updates) and attorney services. This includes a free 30-minute consultation on new legal matters, “ask a lawyer” your legal questions, and discounts when hiring an on-call attorney through Rocket Lawyer. You can also contact customer service by email, online chat, or calling their hotline.
We’re a fan of Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust because you can make your will or trust and other documents with one download for one flat price. However, if you want additional help from a live lawyer, you may want to choose another option. But if you’re computer savvy, Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust is an option with great features for your estate planning forms.
Compare Online Will Makers
|Company||Price||Free Trial||Additional Documents||Legal Support||Update Period|
|Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust Best Overall||$299.99||No||Yes||No||1 year of software updates included|
|US Legal Wills Best Value||From $39.99||No||Yes||Yes||Unlimited|
|Trust & Will Best for Ease of Use||From $89||No||Yes||Yes||1 year|
|Total Legal Best Comprehensive Estate Plan||From $19.95 or $89 per year||No||Yes||Yes||60 days|
|Do Your Own Will Best for Free||Free||N/A||Yes||No||Unlimited|
|Rocket Lawyer Best for Making Changes||From $39.99 flat fee or $39.99 per month subscription||Yes||Yes||Yes||Unlimited with subscription|
What Is an Online Will Maker?
Online will makers allow you to draft, print, and sign your last will and testament via an online or downloaded document creator. This is a more cost-effective way to establish will and trust documents compared to going to an attorney or in-person legal service. Most online will makers walk users through a series of questions to then populate the required fields.
Once you’ve created a will, it’s a good idea to review or update it when you experience a major life event such as a divorce, marriage, a new business entity, a birth, and even a large purchase (like a new home) so that you can make changes or create a brand new will from scratch. Good online will makers allow you to make updates for a specified period of time.
Are Online Wills Legitimate?
The short answer is yes—online wills are legitimate as long as you ensure they comply with federal and state laws. Online will companies hire licensed attorneys and legal professionals to carefully word their estate planning documents so that each is legally binding.
Keep in mind that not all online will makers are created equal. Although some of these companies have products that comply with your state laws, you’ll want to make sure that your final document will carry the same weight as one that an attorney creates.
For example, if you reside in North Carolina, you need to ensure that whoever creates the will signs it in front of at least two witnesses. Check the fine print of the online will company to make sure it’s compliant in your state and confirm what you need to do to make your documents legitimate.
Do You Need More Than an Online Will Maker?
An online will maker may not be enough to address your unique situation. Online will maker services typically are best for people who have a fairly simple estate. However, if your family situation is more complex—think multiple marriages, physical assets in different states, stepchildren, and even a small business—it might be beneficial to seek legal advice from an attorney.
The same is true if you believe your estate could be subject to taxes or if someone might contest your will after you pass. That way, you can ask more in-depth questions you won’t be able to explore with online will companies (even though some claim they’ll offer support) and have your attorney draft a customized will that will be hard to contest.
How Does an Online Will Maker Work?
An online will maker helps you create a customized estate plan using the company’s software. Think of it as using a template of sorts, where you enter your relevant details for the software to create legally binding documents.
Information you’ll need to provide includes a list of your assets, an executor (who is responsible for making sure your wishes in your will are followed), your beneficiaries, a guardian (of your children, pet, elderly parent, etc.), a trustee, and your power of attorney.
Types of documents you can create for your estate plan include a will, living trust, financial power of attorney, health care directive, final arrangement requests, and a letter to survivors. Information you’ll need to provide for these specific documents may differ (and could depend on your state), but an online will maker should provide some guidance as to what you need to do.
What to Do After You Make Your Will
After finalizing your will, make sure to keep it in a safe place. Most people keep their estate planning documents in a fireproof safe alongside other important documents like their life insurance contracts and house deeds. You might want to give a copy to your appointed executor or beneficiaries for safekeeping.
Other options include storing them in a safe deposit box at your local bank or financial institution. This is usually a metal box that’s kept in a federally insured bank or credit union’s vault. You (or whoever has the rights to the contents in the safe deposit box, like your power of attorney) will be able to access it with a key that’s given to you or by providing identification each time you go. Another tip is to keep a digital copy stored in an emergency kit in case your physical copies get destroyed after a major catastrophe, for example.
What Are the Expected Costs of an Online Will Maker?
Prices vary for online will makers; some offer a flat price, whereas others charge a monthly fee for access to a wide variety of documents. For example, you can get a free online will, which is a simple last will and testament, or pay less than $100 for a similar document.
Some service providers charge per document or as a bundle for complete estate planning, which can run a few hundred dollars (though it’s still less than it might cost to hire an attorney to draft one up). Although there are typically fees for multiple downloads or updates, some companies may limit the number of updates to the year you purchased the original service.
Is Paying for an Online Will Maker Worth It?
If your estate planning is simple and straightforward, then using a free online will service could suffice. For example, if you don’t have any children, your only beneficiary is your spouse, and your estate is very small, free services may be all you need. However, you won’t get legal support and expertise if you have questions when drafting your estate planning documents.
If you have a larger estate, a more complex situation (such as children or other dependents being in the picture), or want a legal professional to help you work through your estate planning documents, then you might benefit from a paid service.
Our goal is to make sure our recommendations are ones we would share with our family and friends when looking to choose an online will maker company. We looked at 13 companies before choosing the top providers. Factors we looked at include company history, price, availability in all states, offerings for online resources, whether the product was simple to use, compatibility with various devices, and whether it was easy to make updates.
Will writing services in 2020
Writing a will is very important – especially as we get older and have more assets in our possession. On this page we will explain:
– Why it’s important to have a will
– Things to consider when writing a will
– What will writing services involve and how they can help
– The benefits of using will writing solicitors
– Tips and advice to follow when choosing will writing solicitors
Although writing a will can be pretty straightforward, it’s often a complicated process for people who have multiple assets and several family members they’d like to benefit from their estate.
Even if your situation is relatively straightforward, you want to make sure that your will is watertight and will deliver on your wishes after you’re gone.
60 second overview of this article
- You need a will to ensure that your wishes will be carried out properly after you’re gone
- If a will is not clearly or properly written it may not be valid, meaning you die intestate. In this instance matters become complex and certain beneficiaries may not actually be entitled to their share of your estate
- Will writing services ensure that your will is watertight and can be relied upon in the event of your death
- It is important to research will writing companies thoroughly to ensure that a reputable professional is supporting you through the process
- A list of expert will solicitors can be found on our professional UK Care Guide Directory
Will Writing services
These are services provided by specialist Will writers. These services range from online will providers through to either using a professional will writer or a solicitor . The cost for these will writing services differs depending on how much support you need and who you use
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Why is it important to write a will?
Many people understand how important it is to have a will in place – but an alarming number don’t yet have one in place, and haven’t put their wishes down in writing. Mostly people put it off because they see it as something to address when they are older, or they know they need to sort it out but then forget about it.
According to charity Will Aid, over 53% of people in the UK do not yet have a will in place.
Wills are important for a number of reasons. It’s perhaps easier to look at it from a different perspective – if you die without having written a will, a number of problems can arise. Good reasons for writing a will include:
Protection of your wishes
When you die without making a will you die ‘intestate’. When this occurs an individual’s assets are distributed according to a set of rules called Intestacy Rules. This is a set legal order which decides where your money goes – and the result may not reflect your wishes.
This can understandably be very upsetting for those left behind – especially if the results appear to be unfair or are significantly different to what you would have wanted. For example, under Intestacy Rules assets can be passed to estranged family members and even former spouses.
Where there are no surviving family members the situation becomes even more complicated. Unless long lost relatives can be located all assets pass to the government.
Protection of your assets
As above, if you do not have a will, it’s likely your assets will be seized by the government when they could have been gifted to loved ones or even your favourite charity. Wills also offer an opportunity to introduce additional clauses such as trust funds to further protect your assets from certain taxes and allocate them to specific family members.
As part of this, a will writer may also be able to advise you on approaches you can take to avoid paying inheritance tax. There is a video below that explains some of the benefits of avoiding inheritance tax and the steps you can take.
Here is a useful video that explains how you can reduce your inheritance tax bill.
Protection of family
Most commonly people write a will because they want to know that their loved ones will be looked after and provided for when they are gone. This however may not happen or could become complex if you die without leaving a will to refer to.
As an example let’s use Mrs Bloggs. She has lived with her partner for over twenty years – but they are not married.
She has not made a will and dies unexpectedly, so her partner is not legally entitled to any of her assets. Even if you are married or are in civil partnership, dying without a will means your loved ones are less likely to inherit your estate in its entirety.
In these cases the amount a spouse is entitled to is restricted and some money may go to individuals you hadn’t planned on including in your will.
It’s also important to make sure that your will is complete and correct. It’s not enough to just have a will – it also needs to be fully legal and up to date at all times. For this reason it’s a good idea to enlist professional support from a solicitor or expert with specific experience in this area of law.
Here is a short video that we produced on the important of making a will.
What do will services involve?
Will services offer an important lifeline for anyone who is concerned about leaving a legally binding, watertight will when they are gone. They are usually delivered either by will specialists trained in law, or solicitors specialising in wills.
There will be a charge for will services – but the peace of mind they offer is often invaluable. Will services can be conducted face to face, online or via post – so you can choose whichever you are most comfortable with.
Most commonly face to face meetings are preferred for clarity – as the will writer will often come to your home to chat with you. Will services may be a good option for you if:
– You understand how wills work, but need extra advice and assistance to ensure that it is done properly
– You can’t afford to pay a solicitor or would rather pay less
– You have a simple situation and straightforward circumstances
What are the benefits of using a will writing service?
Lots of people can benefit from using a will writing company – whether you’re simply looking to get your wishes down on paper, or have a complex and large estate and lots of family members to take care of. Benefits include:
Ensuring your will is legally binding
A surprising number of people write their own wills or use a ‘will writing kit’, only to leave behind an unpleasant legal dispute that rages on for months or years between family members. Using a will writing company should protect against this as it ensures that your will is legally binding.
Professional advice and support
Will writing can be a complex process. Perhaps you’re unsure of your wishes – or don’t know what the best options to take may be to protect your estate for the next generation. A will writing company can advise and assist with this.
Ensuring your will is up to date
Your will writing company may keep your details on file and remind you when it’s time to review your will. It’s a good idea to review your will on a regular basis to ensure that it is valid and still reflects your wishes. If you leave an old will and don’t update it you may find that it does not comply with current regulations and could leave your estate open to Intestacy Law.
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Why use will solicitors?
If your situation is complex or you need a more complicated will setting out, will solicitors are likely to be a better option for you. They are fully versed in all facets of the law surrounding wills and estate planning, so they can offer you tailored advice to suit your needs. Advantages of using will solicitors include:
Protection of your will
A solicitor can safely and securely store your will so that when the time comes it can be retrieved and actioned. Few will writers can do this for you.
Sound legal advice
Solicitors are fully legally qualified and specifically trained in this area of law. Few will writers are legally qualified – instead they receive training for wills and estate planning which allows them to give limited advice. This is fine if you want a swift and straightforward solution – but not ideal should you have more bespoke requirements. Solicitors are also fully regulated, so you’re protected should something go wrong.
You can obtain more specific advice from a solicitor in the event of a complex situation, such as multiple divorces, overseas investments, business assets or large estates.
You can choose the solicitor or law firm who draws up your will as your executor. This means they’ll be responsible for executing the will and handling arrangements when you’re gone. Often this is preferable for people who don’t wish to burden family members. There will be an additional cost for this – so make sure you’re clear on charges before you go ahead with it.
Using will writing solicitors is sometimes a more costly option compared with will writing companies. The cost can range between £150 for a basic will up to £600 for a complex will.
Tips for choosing will writing solicitors and will writers
When sourcing will writing solicitors you should:
– Ask for personal recommendations from family and friends
– Choose a solicitor appropriate for your situation – some may specialise in arranging overseas assets, for example
– Shop around for the best price. You may be able to save over £100 by comparing costs.
– Make sure they are registered with The Law Society
You may also like to wait until Free Wills Month (run twice a year in March and October throughout England and Wales) or Will Aid in November. This enables you to see a solicitor for free – although the charity will strongly encourage a small donation, so its not really free!
When sourcing will writers you should:
– Check that they belong to either The Society of Will Writers or The Institute of Professional Will Writers. This should ensure that they are regulated and have received up to date training. They are also insured should your will be legally challenged and must follow a Code of Practice set out by Trading Standards
– Ask for reviews and testimonials – word of mouth recommendations are often helpful
Other things to consider when writing a will
Before you organise a meeting with a solicitor to make a will, it’s worth thinking about your wishes in some detail. Consider:
– Your children : If you have children under the age of 18, you’ll need to think about who will be their legal guardian should you and your partner pass away.
– Your Assets : List your assets (everything you own) one by one. This includes property, cars etc. Note down the estimated value of each and remember to include details such as independent or shared ownership. It might be useful to locate documents such as deeds and titles now, as they can be expensive to replace if they get lost.
– Your Belongings : Remember to include smaller items in the above list – cherished items you wish to pass on.
– Executors: You’ll need to appoint an executor to ensure that the wishes in your will are carried out. Usually people appoint either a close family member or their solicitor to take care of this. It must be someone you know well and trust. Remember it can be a stressful and lengthy process – so they will need to be prepared for it and agree to it.
– Beneficiaries: These are the people or organisations who you wish to benefit from your will. Make a list before deciding who will receive what.
– Charity: Do you want to leave some money behind to your favourite charity? How much will you leave?
– Funeral instructions: You may like to leave your preferred funeral arrangements in your will along with money to pay for it. If you have not thought about paying for your funeral, you can read our article on funeral plans here. Your intentions to be an organ donor can also be included in your will – but you’ll need to be registered too.
Here is a short video explaining the benefits of a funeral plan.
– Any complex circumstances: If you have a complex situation it will need to be considered and managed early on. Examples of this include business assets you’d like to leave behind, overseas investments, exclusion of somebody who would normally benefit from your will and beneficiaries with special needs. *
– Powers of Attorney and related issues: Whilst making a will you can also arrange Lasting Power of Attorney, alongside trusts, advanced directives and more. You can read more about Powers of Attorney on this site.. The two main types of power of attorney that you should be aware about are called a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney or a Property and Financial Affairs Power of Attorney. It is important that you understand what these are and how they work.
The process itself may throw up some additional talking points – as you speak with a solicitor, they may advise certain things that you hadn’t considered before, such as trust funds.
Where can I go for further information on writing a will?
You have two options if you are looking for some help.
Option 2 – Leave your details below, and we will put you in touch with a will writing professional. This is an option that lots of people prefer as it takes away a hard decision of finding someone reputable to help you.