Seeking the best online will maker should be the first port of call for anyone who’s starting to think seriously about estate planning. Being able to commit your final wishes to paper can give you confidence that your estate will be distributed as you intended, and can avoid arguments between your beneficiaries had they not known of your intentions.
Yet one of the most notable benefits of using an online will creator is the convenience. With the right will maker software at your disposal, you’ll have all the tools required to create your will from scratch, with many of the top-rated options including the necessary documents as standard. You’re then free to update it at a later date, too, and there’ll be no need to consult lawyers at any point.
The lack of external input means that the best will software will be far more affordable than if you were to hire legal experts, the costs of which can quickly add up, particularly if repeat meetings are involved. By doing it yourself, you avoid this expense, and if you opt for a free online will maker – which should be perfectly sufficient for those with uncomplicated estates – your outlay falls to precisely zero.
Of course, some people will prefer to opt for a paid-for package, particularly if they’ve got a large estate or several beneficiaries to appease, in which case they’ll need a level of functionality that free online will makers may not always be able to offer. Either way, you can be confident of the legality of the resulting will – as long as the required signatures are in place, it becomes a fully legal document – but you need to make sure you’ve got the best online will maker for your needs. That’s where we come in.
The below list highlights the very best will software available, covering both free and paid-for packages that can cater to a variety of requirements. You may also like to take the time to consider final expense insurance or life insurance, thereby ensuring that your family will be financially stable when you’re no longer around.
1. Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2021: Best online will maker overall
Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2021 from Nolo is the very latest version of this hugely popular software, retailing at $99.99. For this, users get a comprehensive program that can help create legal paperwork for a wide range of situations. Users receive straightforward yet effective guidance as they are directed towards the estate planning documents that suit their circumstances, including wills.
The program also allows for multiple wills to be made for all family members, while additional roles like guardians and executors can be assigned and listed. However, Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2021 also allows for legal paperwork to be prepared that will be of use while the user is still alive, including living trusts, a durable financial power of attorney and healthcare directives. End-of-life documents such as plans for funerals and letters to family members or survivors to explain decisions, are also included in the package.
The program is accessible and intuitive, and should see most users with regular living situations able to produce legal documents at home without any extra research or the need to pay for the services of an attorney. The price point might seem a little higher compared to some online will makers, but you're receiving a product that it is hard to fault, and one that is certainly cheaper than employing a legal professional.
2. Law Depot: Best online will maker for value
Law Depot offers a small choice of pricing options including yearly or monthly subscriptions, a pay-per-document option, and a seven-day free trial. It’s free to create and explore their online document selection. The annual pre-paid subscription breaks down to just $7.99 per month and includes unlimited document creation and printing.
Law Depot is slightly different to some of the other will-preparation products on the market in that there’s no software to download. Users pay Law Depot a subscription to access the wizards that help with the document creation, and although users can create, save and download the documents that they create, they must keep up their subscription to retain access to them.
The interface is very user-friendly, offering straightforward means of creating documents, and listing them in a very accessible way. The questioning process is smooth, without too many complications, and it should be a workable solution for most regular users creating a last will and testament, as well as any other end-of-life documents.
- Read our Law Depot review
3. Legal Zoom: Best online will maker for ease of use
The Basic package retails at $89, and comes with the essentials to create a will, including a generous number of instructional guides that help explain the relevant provisions and statements, as well as worksheets to help the process along.
Legal Zoom is one of the most user-friendly options out there for people looking to create their own last wills and testaments. Legal Zoom’s software is stored in the cloud, meaning users can access their account from any device with an internet connection, and there’s no software to install. Customers with the Comprehensive plan and the Estate Plan Bundle also get a free app for their mobile phones.
It’s one of the easiest and most straightforward software solutions that we reviewed, and the flexibility within the program (stored on the cloud for access anywhere) is impressive. The customer support was relatively good, and the attorney sessions included with the two more expensive options are a welcome addition to the basic program.
- Read our Legal Zoom review
4. Trust & Will: Best online will maker for families
Trust & Will delivers a quick and simple online will making service, making it perfect for people who have little time on their hands but who want to put estate planning arrangements in place. Trust & Will says it should be possible to complete a will in 15 minutes using its website, and if your requirements are straightforward, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be even quicker.
The process couldn’t be easier to follow or more smooth, with a series of short questions, and your answers, being used to draw out your estate planning wishes. A preview document will be on screen in next to no time, and ready to download, just as soon as you’ve paid the reasonable fee. You’ll be mailed a copy too, and in the first year you can change your will as often as you like.
Everything about Trust & Will is designed to ensure will making is as hassle-free as possible, and given the host of outstanding user reviews the service also receives, satisfaction seems almost guaranteed.
- Read our Trust & Will review
5. Rocket Lawyer: Best online will maker for document creation
Rocket Lawyer’s product is simply a subscription to their services, available at $39.99 per month. The price includes preparation of a last will and testament, an Attorney Review service, questions answered via email by legal consultants, and 30-minute consultations with same legal consultants (just one question per consultation). The price also includes unlimited document revisions and copies. Cloud-based subscribers can download in Word, PDF, RTF and text formats.
One great feature of Rocket Lawyer is that there are sample wills available for perusing online, which will help users organise their own estates and give them ideas of things to include that they might not have thought of otherwise.
It’s possible to create a last will and testament for free using their seven-day free trial, and then pay for one month as a subscriber to get the full benefit of their support services. Their interface is incredibly user-friendly, and the flexibility in terms of revisions and different formats for the final document is among the best available.
- Read our Rocket Lawyer review
6. Do Your Own Will: Best free online will maker
Many will-preparation software companies offer a free trial, but this does not typically result in a legally binding will for free. This is not the case with Do Your Own Will, and users can jump straight into preparing their own will without the need to offer up any credit card or banking details. As you proceed, advertisements appear on the screen and that is how the company generates revenue.
Creating a last will and testament with Do Your Own Will reality could not be easier. Three screens take you through some multiple-choice questions just to ascertain your general circumstances, and these are enough to create a legally binding last will and testament. When the process is finished, the will is available to instantly download in either .docx or .pdf format. The entire process takes around three minutes.
Do Your Own Will suits a very straightforward situation where all of a user’s estate is being left to one person (with space for some gifts to other parties), and there isn’t a complicated portfolio of shares or property to divvy out among several people.
- Read our Do Your Own Will review
7. U.S. Legal Wills: Best online will maker for expatriates
U.S. Legal Wills offers a free way to create a document, but to download, there is a fee of $39.95. U.S. Legal Wills offers a wealth of documents pertaining to end-of-life wishes and estate administration. The basic document is their Last Will and Testament ($39.95) which creates a legally binding will via a wizard that uses a short series of questions. It is a perfectly reasonable solution for people with very straightforward circumstances, and all the information is stored securely online. Unlimited changes are included in the price, and it includes the documentation of private funeral wishes and messages to be passed on after the user’s death.
The company can also arrange expatriate wills and wills for foreign users living in the United States, each of which are charged at $39.95, a competitive price for these documents.
U.S. Legal Wills offers a will-preparation process that’s as simple and user-friendly as that of any of its competitors. The process does take a couple of minutes longer, but only because the service includes a host of extra options that are not offered by many of its competitors.
- Read our U.S. Legal Wills review
8. Willing: Best online will maker for mobile users
Willing offers three products. By far the most popular is the Individual Last Will & Testament package at $69, which allows users to leave property to their family, plans for medical emergencies, and it includes basic versions of a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney. Unlimited changes are allowed for up to six months.
The way the site for Willing is designed makes it a particularly good option for users accessing the process from a mobile phone, and it is one of the best designed sites for this scenario.
Any extras such as customer service are a little stripped back and there is no access to legal consultation, but if all that a user needs is a straightforward will that is leaving everything to one person, then Willing is a perfectly reasonable service and as noted, the design is particularly suited to being accessed on a mobile phone.
- Read our Willing review
Types of online will maker
When it comes to estate planning online, options tend to fall into one of two categories: will software or online will makers. Will software is typically paid for in advance, allowing you to download the program that you need to create your will, while online will makers are generally websites that are subscription based, requiring an annual, monthly or one-off payment to use the service.
While there may once have been notable differences between the prices and level of support that each option offers, this has narrowed markedly in recent times. Whichever option you choose, the end result should be a document that once signed and witnessed in the correct manner is legally binding.
Other legal documents provided by online will makers
A last will and testament is only one of several important documents that you should create while planning your estate. Most will makers also provide the option to create other legal documents covering areas such as health care directives (or living wills), trusts, and power of attorney.
Caregiver and survivor instructions are synopses of your will and highlight additional final wishes that may not necessarily be included in a last will and testament. They usually include a notification letter that you can send out to those you've named as executors and caregivers for your children and pets, so they’re aware of the responsibilities they might need to take on.
Common mistakes in DIY wills
You can save significantly by using an online will maker to produce your will, but if you strike out on your own, watch out for these common mistakes:
Naming an executor
This is an important choice that can affect how your estate is closed. If you're choosing between two people to be your executor, it might prove beneficial to opt for the one with some legal or financial acumen, if they have it.
Listing every asset
You don’t have to account for everything you own when making a will. Possessions change over time, and you don’t want to have to update your will every time you buy something new. It's better to be general about possessions and designate specific items that may have emotional value.
Confusing a will for something else
Wills are read after funerals, so instructions for your funeral should not be included in your will. Likewise, any instructions about what to do if you fall into a coma or are put on life support need to go in a living will, which is a separate legal document.
When using an online will maker, it's sometimes easy to overlook a residual beneficiary - this is someone who gets everything not explicitly named in your will. Take an inventory of the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies and 401(k)s, and make sure they match up with whoever you’ve designated on those accounts. If you want those proceeds to go to someone else, you need to update those accounts to match your will.
If you have a large or complicated estate, creating your own will online might not be the best option for you. In this instance, hiring a legal professional can ensure everything has been considered and ordered correctly, and might help avoid your being contested. You should also hire a lawyer to help if you want to disinherit a spouse.