U.S. Legal Wills is a website that lets anyone create their own will. It is owned and operated by PartingWishes Inc, a company that works with legal consultants but is not itself a law firm. The company was formed in 2000 and its stated aim is ‘to allow people to create common legal documents in a very easy, convenient, private, secure and cost-effective manner, without the need to pay the high expenses of a lawyer.’
In common with most websites offering online will maker software, U.S. Legal Wills offers a free legally binding document-creation process, but then charges the user to download and print said documents. The site also offers free statements relating to funeral wishes, the uploading of important files and documents, and the opportunity to create messages to be sent after the users has passed away. It is not a completely free service in the way that Do Your Own Will is, and even though the company is not a law firm, there is legal support offered through the website for a fee.
How much does U.S. Legal Wills cost?
- Free to create a document
- To download, there is a fee of $39.95
In accordance with most online will-preparation solutions, U.S. Legal Wills can create your will for free with a few simple steps. Users can create an account without any credit card information being taken. Once the document has been created, however, users are taken to a screen with various payment options. To download an individual will incurs a charge of $39.95. This is fairly competitive within the market. There are various optional add-ons to this service, each charged individually and listed below. The most popular addition offered is a mirror will for a user’s spouse at a discounted rate of $23.97. Most of their additional document prices fall within the industry averages.
U.S. Legal Wills review: Products
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 with a short series of questions. It is perfectly reasonable for people with very straightforward circumstances, and it is stored securely online (as well as being available for downloading and printing). 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 – options that are not included in many of the similar programmes reviewed. A mirror will for a user’s spouse is offered at a discount price ($23.97, including all the extras listed) if arranged at the same time as the user’s will.
Various relevant add-ons are also available at a fee. Power of Attorney can be arranged for $29.95. A Living Will including power of attorney for healthcare is $19.95. 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. All documents are offered with a full money back guarantee, and all documents can be reviewed by an attorney through the site for an additional fee.
U.S. Legal Wills review: Document creation
The process on the website to create a last will and testament is as easy as any on the market. The company also offers options beyond the usual straightforward scenarios, which is a nice bonus. Creating a will still only takes a matter of minutes.
U.S. Legal Wills review: Create a vault for important files
One free addition to the creation of a will is the chance to upload important text, photo and video files to a personal vault, which can be accessed by the relevant acknowledged parties at a time of the user’s choosing. This is a free service for up to one year.
U.S. Legal Wills review: Document funeral wishes and create messages
In addition to creating a will, users are offered, free of charge, the option to detail their own wishes for their funeral arrangements and also create a number of messages that can be relayed to loved ones (via an executor) after the user’s death.
U.S. Legal Wills review: Usability and user reviews
U.S. Legal Wills offers as simple and user-friendly a will preparation process as any of its competitors. In fact 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 competing services. From the home screen, users can begin making their wills in a couple of clicks, without adding any credit card information. Users are taken to a series of screens, and either click on drop-down boxes, click on buttons or add information in text boxes as appropriate. A progress bar at the top of the pages lets users see how far along they are, and a list of terms is listed in a glossary in the left-side bar of each page, which makes cross-referencing legal terms very easy indeed.
The site also includes a blog with articles on issues surrounding the creation of a Last Will and Testament and adjacent procedures. There are some good extra features that U.S. Legal Will offers. The process lets you name people whom you are leaving your assets to (including a couple of scenarios beyond the basic family/spouse arrangement, which is more than some similar programs), lets you list up to four executors, and leaves room to detail bequests to charities, trusts for pets and even forgiveness of debts. These details go beyond the scope of most similarly-priced will preparation services that operate in the cloud.
Users will have a legally binding will within a matter of minutes, and although the design is a little more cluttered than some stripped-down sites, it’s still very user-friendly. Users can create a user support ticket and also pay for the company’s associate attorneys to review paperwork. Parent company PartingWishes Inc has been accredited to the Better Business Bureau since 2009 and currently enjoys the highest ‘A+’ rating.
Should you choose U.S. Legal Wills?
Although its process and prices are comparable to its competitors, U.S. Legal Wills does offer a host of attractive extras. Creating a legally-binding, basic Last Will and testament is very easy and can be complete in a matter of minutes. As noted, the process even includes some options that many of the company’s peers do not offer, giving this site slightly more value for money. The company is also notable for offering mirror wills to a user’s partner at a discounted rate and for being able to produce documents for both United States nationals with assets overseas and for foreign nationals living in the United States. The company has some good educational online resources that are free to browse and legal consultants that are available for a fee, making it one of the best all-round options, particularly for scenarios involving overseas activity.