A will is an important part of a basic estate plan and making one may be easier than you might think. Online will-maker software programs allow you to create a will on your own, often for less than what you might pay to an estate planning attorney. But which is the best online will maker and how do you determine which program to use? If you’re ready to make a will, here are some suggestions for the best will-making software options available now. Working with a financial advisor as you put together or modify an estate plan can save you time and help you avoid mistakes.
1. Best Online Will Maker for Free Wills: DoYourOwnWill.com
If you’re interested in making a simple will but don’t want to spend a lot of money, DoYourOwnWill.com could be right for you. This free will maker software allows you to draft the following at no cost:
Wills can be downloaded as a Word or PDF document and the format used is valid in all 50 states. This could be the best online will maker to try for building an estate plan on a budget.
2. Best Online Will Maker for Beginners: Rocket Lawyer
Cost: Free seven-day trial; $39.99 per month afterward
Rocket Lawyer offers a free seven-day trial in which you can give the will-making software a test run. During this trial period, you can create up to three legal documents, including a will and get a free consultation with an attorney.
If you decide to continue with Rocket Lawyer after the trial period, you can do so for a monthly fee. But if you just want to make your will and have it briefly reviewed by an attorney, you can do so at no cost.
In terms of how easy it is to use, Rocket Lawyer guides you through the will-making process using an interview format and it covers all the most important bases for drafting a legal will.
3. Best Online Will Maker for Comprehensive Planning: LegalZoom
Cost: $89 to $179, depending on the package
LegalZoom shares some similarities with Rocket Lawyer, in that you can get access to professional legal advice for a fee. In terms of will making and estate planning, LegalZoom allows you to create a number of documents, including:
You can also use LegalZoom for other financial planning needs, such as creating residential leases if you own a rental property or setting up an LLC if you plan to start a business. Those services have their own fees separate from those for estate planning.
4. Best Online Will Maker for Setting up a Trust: Nolo Quicken Willmaker & Trust
A living trust is something you might consider adding to your estate plan if you’d like to name a trustee to manage certain assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. The Nolo Quicken Willmaker & Trust program allows you to create a last will and testament as well as a living trust in a single package.
The software allows you to create more than two dozen forms, including:
This online will maker also uses an interview format to help you create a customized estate plan that includes a trust. If you’re not sure which documents you need, you can take a short quiz to determine what to include.
5. Best Online Will Maker for Charitable Giving: FreeWill
If charitable giving features in your estate plan, FreeWill may be a good fit for making a will online. This free-to-use software allows you to draft a will in as little as 20 minutes that includes provisions for donating or leaving assets to your favorite charities.
You can also use FreeWill to create an advance health care directive and durable financial power of attorney. This software is offered for free through the support of various nonprofit organizations.
6. Best Online Will Maker for Families: Trust & Will
Cost: Starting at $89 for wills
If you have children or an older special needs dependent, that can influence how you approach estate planning. Trust & Will offers solutions for families, including wills, trusts and guardianship documents.
Trust & Will costs a bit more compared to some of the other online will-making software programs out there. But you might view it as a solid investment if you want a comprehensive estate plan that covers a variety of different scenarios that might impact your family.
For example, if you have minor children, you’d want to name a legal guardian to manage their care if something happens to you. A trust could be used to manage any assets you leave behind on their behalf until they’re old enough to inherit.
7. Best Online Will Maker for Homeowners: Willing.com
When you own a home, you may be concerned about it being subject to probate after you pass away. Leaving it inside a trust is one option or you could establish a transfer on death deed instead. That’s something you can do with the Willing.com online will-maker software.
You can also use Willing to:
Overall, Willing is one of the easiest online will-making software programs out there. That could make it appealing to first-time willmakers or anyone who needs a simple will-making process.
8. Best Online Will Maker for Couples: U.S. Legal Wills
Cost: $39.95 for wills, with 40% off for spouses and partners
If you’re married, you could set up a joint will. But it might make more sense fo
r each of you to have your own will. That, however, can mean double the cost for drafting them. With U.S. Legal Wills, spouses can take advantage of a discount when creating multiple wills.
U.S. Legal Wills is easy to use, even if you’re not a legal expert. In addition to creating a will, you can also create power of attorney forms, a living will, an expatriate will and a Life Locker, which stores critical information to be passed on to your loved ones after you pass away.
Each form has its own costs and you do get a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can also store your documents online with unlimited updates for a year free.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best online will maker means doing a little research into costs, features and benefits. The will-making programs mentioned here are standouts, based on the range and quality of products offered and their value. But it can also be helpful to read other reviews from people who have used each one to decide which will-making program is right for you.
Tips for Estate Planning
Consider talking to an estate planning attorney if you think you have needs that go beyond making a simple will. For example, if you think you could benefit from establishing a specialized trust or you want to create a legacy of wealth for your children, an estate planning expert can offer valuable insight.
Your financial advisor is another good resource to talk to about estate planning. If you don’t have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesn’t have to be complicated. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can help you connect with an advisor in your local area. It takes just a few minutes to get your personalized advisor recommendations online. If you’re ready, get started now.
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