Best Online Will Maker 2019 - Estate Planning Software Reviews
We’ve evaluated and compared online will software for more than six years so you can find the best software to help you leave final wishes and detailed instructions for your loved ones. We believe Quicken WillMaker Plus is the best program for most situations because it’s easy-to-use and includes all the documents you need to create a thorough and legally binding last will and testament. The plus edition of this software costs less than $50, which is less than you’d pay a lawyer for a one-hour consultation.
Quicken WillMaker Plus
Quicken WillMaker Plus has templates for all the important documents you need to create thorough and legally binding estate planning arrangements, including power of attorney and a living will.
Law Depot offers a free one-week trial service that allows you to create and print estate planning documents. After the one week free trial, you can purchase a monthly subscription or pay for each document.
Legal Zoom makes creating a will easy by using an interview-style format to walk you step-by-step through the process. It also has the best support options of all the will software programs we reviewed.
|Product||Price||Overall Rating||Document Creation Tools||Documents Created||Help & Support||Windows||Mac||Download||Mobile Access||Online||Final Arrangements||Caregiver Instructions||Executor Documents||Revocation Documents||Wills||Schedule of Assets||Health Care Directive (Living Will)||Survivor Instructions||Power of Attorney||Interview Format||Spellcheck||Step-By-Step Instructions||Legal Term Glossary||Ease of Use||Sample Wills||Print Preview||Save Formats||Progress Check||Worksheets||Checklists||Legal Reference Guide||Social Media||Lawyer Directory||Telephone||FAQs|
|Quicken WillMaker Plus||View Deal||5/5||10||10||9.4||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||95%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Rocket Lawyer||View Deal||5/5||9.4||10||9.4||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||90%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|LawDepot||View Deal||4.5/5||8.1||10||8.8||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||95%||✓||✓||Word, PDF||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Will Writer||View Deal||4.5/5||8.1||10||8.1||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||90%||✓||✓||Word||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|US Legal Wills||View Deal||4.5/5||8.1||9.4||8.8||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||85%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Standard Legal||View Deal||4/5||6.9||8.1||9.4||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||85%||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|LegacyWriter||View Deal||4/5||7.5||7.5||8.1||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||80%||✓||Word, PDF||✓||$||$||✓||✓|
|TotalLegal||View Deal||3.5/5||6.3||8.1||7.5||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||85%||✓||Word, PDF||✓||✓|
|Do Your Own Will||View Deal||3.5/5||6.3||6.3||8.8||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||80%||✓||Word, PDF||✓||✓||✓||✓|
Quicken WillMaker Plus is easy-to-use and includes all the documents you need to create a legally binding last will and testament. This estate planning software uses an interview style format to walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a will, power of attorney, living will and caregiver instructions.
It also automatically creates letters to send to future caregivers and the executor of your will to notify them of your final wishes.
The interview format WillMaker Plus uses is simple and includes clear explanations of all the legal terms to help you understand why each piece of information is necessary. This is the only program we reviewed that allows you to designate a new guardian for each child or pet rather than naming one custodian.
It is also one of the few estate planning programs we reviewed that can be permanently downloaded on your computer, so you can make changes to you will or other estate planning documents without paying the monthly service fee associated with online will services. If you do make changes to your will, WillMaker plus has revocation documents for your health care directive and the power of attorney.
Law Depot is an online will software that offers a free one-week subscription. During that free subscription period, you have access to all the documents you need to create a will, power of attorney and living will.
Once the free trial is over, you can either choose to subscribe to the service for a monthly fee, or pay for each legal document you want to create. Print your estate planning documents and save them in PDF form, if you cancel the service and still want access.
This online will software was one of the easiest programs we reviewed. The interview-style data entry format walks you through the process of creating documents step-by-step, but doesn’t include some of the tools we look for, such as spellcheck, checklists or an asset worksheet. You do, however, have the option of saving the final document as a PDF or Word document. The website has a comprehensive FAQs page that has answers to all the standard questions and is a good resource for learning about the estate planning process.
Easiest to Use
Legal Zoom is one of the more expensive will making software services we reviewed, but it has the best support options and is incredibly easy-to-use. It uses a combination of interview-style information input and text fields.
You can include more information regarding the sale of your property, distribution of assets and care of your minor children in each text field. You do have to pay for a power of attorney and health care directive, which makes this software more expensive than other estate planning tools. This is the only will software we reviewed that requires additional payment for those documents.
The estate planning documents you create with Legal Zoom are legally binding, and if you have any questions about the software platform, the support staff is available to answer questions by phone or email. You also have access to the lawyer directory if you prefer to ask important legal questions after you finish your will. The FAQs page on the Legal Zoom website has a plethora of helpful answers to most questions and the reference guide can help you navigate unfamiliar legal terminology.
Best for Creating Documents
Creating legally binding documents is not easy, but Rocket Lawyer's process of walking you through an interview to build the document makes it the best will software for creating legal documents. The process is fast and doesn't lose you in the minutia of legalese. You can make an unlimited number of revisions and use the many tools to build the will to your preferences. Once you're done building the document, print and sign. You can also share and sign the documents electronically.
One downside is the subscription business model. Rocket Lawyer is not a one-time purchase of software, but a legal consultation service. You can still build a will and testament without subscribing, but you can't print or share the document unless you buy the legal document for $39.99. This is the same monthly price for the subscription, which comes with a host of other benefits, such as lawyer consultations and access to hundreds of legal document builders. In this way, Rocket Lawyer isn’t designed for the one-off will and testament, but for people who need an affordable legal consultation service, like small business owners.
Best for Foreign Wills
Will Writer by Enodare is an average estate planning software program. It does what every will software product is designed to do by creating all the various legal documents for protecting your estate – wills, living trusts, living wills, power of attorney and more. The one feature that sets this product apart from other will-writing software is the ability to create foreign wills. As such, this is one of the few will-writing programs designed for families of mixed nationalities or citizenship.
A significant downside to consider, however, is the lack of spellcheck. Since you can't preview the documents until you've finished answering the questions, it is difficult to go back and fix spelling errors which can result in potential legal issues when it’s time to execute your estate. In addition, Will Writer doesn't feature a checklist or worksheet tool for keeping your information organized when filling out documents.
Why Trust Us?
During the last six years of reviewing legally binding will software, we found all the helpful and quirky features that make better programs stand out. Our recommendations are based on hands-on experience with these programs while we created hypothetical last wills and testaments. We noted of how easy the software platform was to navigate and which creation tools made that process more intuitive.
While you can hire an attorney to create your will for you, most charge a minimum of $50 per hour. This is quite costly, especially if you don't need an overly complicated will. We started testing and reviewing will software to find a more cost-effective alternative for anyone comfortable using a software platform.
How Much Does Estate Planning Software Cost?
With will writing software, you can plan your estate for between $15 and $70, though the average product costs around $35. With legal consultation services, such as Rocket Lawyer, you either pay $40 per document or for a monthly subscription, a purchase recommended only if you require significant help with legal matters. Either way, when you consider the average estate lawyer charges between $100 and $500 per hour, will-writing software saves you considerable time and money.
How We Tested
Our testing process for will software was focused on finding the easiest program to use. Before we started creating a hypothetical last will and testament with each program, we researched all the necessary documents associated with estate planning and located them in the software. We then filled them out to make sure we recommended a service that has all the things you need to make a thorough and legally binding will.
We also contacted the support team for each software manufacturer to see how quickly we received answers to questions about the interface. We don’t suggest contacting the support team if you have legal questions, but we did find the lawyer directory helpful if you think you might have questions that aren’t answered in the FAQ pages on the manufacturer’s website. Our reviewers also contacted the support staff on popular social media platforms which was the quickest way to get answers to most questions about using the software.
What to Look for When Considering Will Software
Online vs Downloadable
When considering will software, you have to choose between a downloadable program or one you can access online. Both can help you write your own will and, after being signed by the appropriate number of witnesses, your will is recognized as a legally binding document. Online software doesn’t require you to permanently download the program or any documents onto your computer, but most online services charge a monthly fee. Downloadable programs allow you to create as many documents as you want for a one-time fee and can be downloaded on multiple computers or transferred to a new computer if you upgrade.
Document Creation Tools
The best will-creating programs have the most tools. Interview formats and step-by-step instructions make it easy to record important information that the program then automatically adds to a legal last will and testament. The best will software includes a spellchecker to ensure everything you add is accurate, checklists so you know what information you need to gather before starting your will, and worksheets to keep your assets and beneficiary information in order. Saving the final document in a PDF format is important since it’s a secure format that you can’t accidentally edit after its saved.
A last will and testament is only one of several important documents that you should create while planning your estate. Most of the programs we reviewed have the tools to help you create other legal documents, such as a health care directive, (or living will) schedule of assets 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 those responsibilities long before your death.
Help & Support
Fortunately, each of the software solutions we reviewed is simple-to-use and navigate without reading instruction guides or getting in touch with support personnel. However, in case you do have any questions or concerns, it's nice to know you can connect with the right help. Most software developers don't have email or telephone support, relying instead on FAQs sections. Some programs come with legal support, either in the form of a legal reference guide or as a lawyer directory that lets you search for a real-life attorney in your area. Social media platforms are also a good way to get in touch with live tech support.
Common Mistakes in DIY Wills
You can save significantly by using a program to write your will – this type of software typically costs around $50, whereas you may pay up to $1,000 for a lawyer to help you write your will. If you strike out on your own and use a program, watch out for these common mistakes:
Naming an Executor: This is a difficult choice that can affect how your estate is closed. Don’t just pick someone close to you – choose an executor with some legal or financial acumen.
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.
Forgetting Beneficiaries: One peril of using a will program is you can forget to name a residual beneficiary. This is the person 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.
Doing It Yourself When Your Estate Is Too Complicated: If you have a large or complicated estate, hiring a lawyer decreases the likelihood your will may be contested. You also want to hire a lawyer to help if you want to disinherit a spouse.