Are you wondering how to make a will without a lawyer? Online will makers could be the solution you need.
Most people think making a will is expensive or time-consuming. The best online will makers let you draft your last will and testament or provide you with other necessary legal documents. Sometimes, you can even do it for free!
Your online will can be legally binding, just like one a local lawyer drafts.
Top Online Will Makers
Most households can make an online will in less than 15 minutes. You can appoint guardians for your children and choose an executor.
While anyone can get an online will, complex estates should consider using a local legal professional to ensure their legal documents are valid. Some examples include owning a business or having property in multiple states.
1. Trust and Will
You can nominate guardians, make a will, or create a trust at Trust and Will. Plans start at $39, and you can make unlimited updates free of charge for the first year.
Although Trust and Will isn’t free, getting legal support with this company is cheaper than hiring a lawyer, who can easily cost $300.
This mid-tier plan costs $159, and you can add spousal documents for $100 more. Choose this plan if you want to make a last will and testament.
For instance, to decide who inherits your assets, list your retirement plan beneficiaries and your final arrangements. Living wills can also be made to express your medical care wishes.
If you have pets, you must pick this plan to nominate their guardians. You can make all document revisions after the first year for $19 annually.
- Can make a basic or complex estate plan
- Avoid probate by creating a trust
- Money-back guarantee with every plan
- Provides other legal documents
Learn More: Trust & Will Review: Is It Worth It?
Fabric is a life insurance company that has a free online will maker. You start by answering several questions to personalize your will. Free will revisions can be made at any time.
It’s even possible to add these features to your will:
- Child guardians
- The executor of the will
- Final arrangements
- Mirror wills (identical wills for spouses)
You can store your online will and bank account information in the Fabric Vault. This cloud storage tool is free. It is an easy way to reduce the stress of a widow or family faces trying to transfer your accounts into their name.
Fabric offers term life insurance, as well. You are never required to purchase life insurance through Fabric to make an online will.
But if you need to get a policy, you might qualify for a no medical exam life insurance policy in as little as 10 minutes.
- It lets you create a free online will
- Can store your online will and personal information in their data vault
- Term life insurance is available
You can use FreeWill to create a will at no cost. Even their power of attorney and living will forms are free.
California residents can make free revocable living trusts.
Although it costs money, FreeWill can pair its forms with an attorney if you need expert legal documents and advice.
The FreeWill lawyer service may still be cheaper than a local lawyer. It can be worth your time to compare costs.
The main reason FreeWill is free to use is that it encourages charitable giving. Nonprofits partner with FreeWill to cover the expense of making online wills.
- Free to use
- Can pair with an attorney (for an extra cost)
4. Rocket Lawyer
You can make a living will, financial power of attorney, and more using Rocket Lawyer. It’s free to try Rocket Lawyer for seven days.
After that, you pay $39.99 per legal document plus fees for legal support, like asking a lawyer questions.
Becoming a premium member costs $39.99 a month and includes these benefits:
- Access to all printable legal documents
- Ask legal questions to a lawyer
- Review disputes with an attorney
- 30-minute phone consultation with an attorney
- Discounts on hiring a Rocket Lawyer attorney
The one-time fee for these options for non-members costs between $9.99 and $59.99. If you only want to make a document once, Rocket Lawyer can cost less than other online will makers.
The one-time attorney service fees are affordable if you don’t want to become a monthly member.
- One time or ongoing fee to make an online will
- Attorney assistance is available
- Can create documents for other events like buying rental property
WillMaker.com offers a subscription service to help you create a suite of estate planning documents. There are three levels to map out your estate plans:
- Starter. The Starter bundle is $89 per year. With it, you can make wills, health care directives, and final arrangements.
- Plus. The Plus bundle is $129 per year. With this download, you can make wills, health care directives, final arrangements, durable power of attorney, letters to survivors, and living trusts.
- All Access. The All Access bundle is $199 per year and allows you to create wills, health care directives, final arrangements, durable power of attorney, letters to survivors, and living trusts. It also includes a one-year subscription to everplans to help you organize and securely store important documents.
The cost of each plan for their will maker is billed as an annual subscription. You can log into the platform to make changes as necessary along the way. The Plus and All Access options allow you to download the software to your PC or Mac to draft your documents.
- Can store documents in a secure place and share them with trusted advisors
- Relatively painless way to create essential documents
- Knock out several important documents with one software
Cost: $89 to $199
LawDepot gives you free access to all documents for the first week. You can print your documents during the free trial.
After the free trial ends, a license costs $35 monthly or $107.88 for an annual subscription. Either membership option provides full access to the LawDepot document library.
Another option is paying a flat fee between $7.50 to $119 to access a single document.
There are a variety of documents you can create, such as:
- Last will and testament
- Living will
- Financial power of attorney
- Revocable living trust
- Gift deed
After deciding which documents you need, you can choose the best membership plan. For example, you can use other LawDepot documents if you start your own business.
- Offers a free trial so you can test out the service
- Not just for wills
Cost: Free to start
7. US Legal Wills
Many of the best online will makers only provide service if you live in the 50 U.S. states. US Legal Wills offers wills for expatriates who live outside the United States.
You can also get a will if you have assets in Canada or the United Kingdom.
The following documents are also available for U.S. residents:
- Last will and testament
- Power of attorney
- Living will
For expats, the cost is $39.95. Adding a spouse brings the total cost to $59.95.
Wills cost $19.95 for individuals and $29.95 for couples.
It’s possible to make unlimited revisions to every document for the first year. After that, you pay $11.95 per year to continue storing your documents in the US Legal Wills vault and have unlimited revisions.
Purchasing a multi-year storage plan is a great way to save money. For instance, a lifetime plan only costs $129.95.
This is the better option if you keep your will at US Legal Wills for more than ten years.
For extra peace of mind, you can pay $69 for their legal support team to review any legal document that needs additional attention.
- Expatriate wills available
- Lifetime unlimited revisions and vault storage
- 40% discount for spouses
- Lawyers can review your documents
Cost: Start at $39.95
If you want a low-cost online will making service, TotalLegal is a great option. Their estate planning documents include a living will, power of attorney, and more.
Each document costs $19.95 without a paid membership.
The TotalLegal Plan membership costs $9.95 monthly or $89 a year ($7.49 monthly). Paying the fee lets you make unlimited documents and access attorney services.
Premium members can print their legal forms or store them on TotalLegal’s online vault.
Membership is open to the majority of locations in the US. Check their site to make sure your state is included.
- Low monthly or annual fee
- Can make most estate planning documents
- Attorney services available to premium members
LegalZoom is one of the best online will makers that has pricing starting at $39. You get a state-specific will, and you can make free revisions for the first 30 days.
If a court finds your online will to be invalid solely because it was created online, LegalZoom will pay you $50,000.
Upgrading to the Last Will and Testament bundle costs $179. This bundle includes free revisions for the first year, financial power of attorney, and a will.
Bundling also gives you access to LegalZoom’s Legal Advantage Plus service for additional legal support.
You can have 30-minute phone consultations to get personalized legal advice. Plus, membership includes a free attorney review of LegalZoom documents and unlimited revisions.
This legal access is free for the first year and costs $119.88 annually afterward.
- Access to independent attorneys
- $50,000 Peace of Mind guarantee
- Free digital download for all plans
- 4.53/5 from Better Business Bureau
Cost: Start at $39
10. US Legal Forms
US Legal Forms offers an ongoing subscription to the platform, which includes estate planning documents. With the documents laid out, you can fill in the specifics of your situation. If you opt for the document packages, the prices vary based on the state.
Throughout the process, you can use the detailed document descriptions to guide your inputs. The platform promises up-to-date documents. If you run into technical issues, you can find support through US Legal Forms.
If you run into questions about the documents, Premium members can contact expert help through the platform.
US Legal Forms offers two subscription levels. The Basic option, with access to 85,000 forms, is $8 per month. The Premium option is $15 per month, with access to expert document help.
- Fair costs for living wills and power of attorney forms
- Easy to use online PDF editor
- Offers help to complete the documents for Premium members
Cost: Start at $8 per month
Are Online Wills Valid?
Online wills can be legally binding once you print them and have several signatures.
The first signature is the person (the testator) who makes the will. So if the will is for you, then you must sign it as the testator. Your spouse will need to sign their will.
More importantly, two non-involved people must sign your will, and these signatures must be notarized. Your bank may offer free notary services.
You will also need to see which services each online will maker offers. For example, you might only be able to legally assign guardians for your children but not your pets.
Also, a last will and testament that isn’t a trust must go through a probate court. The court will legally decide who receives your property and gains custody of your children under the age of 18.
Finally, none of the statements in this article are formal legal advice. Check your local laws and ask your attorney for personalized assistance.
Do You Need More Than an Online Will Maker?
You should consider hiring a lawyer if you have a complicated estate plan or anticipate legal struggles between the heirs. They can also provide personalized advice that online platforms may not have the capability of offering.
For example, lawyers specializing in estate planning can help heirs receive their inheritance or pension benefits sooner.
A lawyer can also make it easier for your will executor to correctly follow your intentions, even if you have a simple will. The executor may not feel comfortable handling your estate plan if they don’t have a legal background or are a first-time executor.
Finally, a local lawyer can help complete your other estate plan documents, such as:
- Funeral wishes
- Power of attorney
- Health care directives
- Living trust
While hiring a lawyer costs more money than an online willmaker, you may appreciate the extra peace of mind if you have a sizable estate or complicated financial and family conditions.
When Should I Get an Attorney Involved with Estate Planning?
Hiring an estate lawyer can be worthwhile when you need personalized advice or help finalize a complex estate plan.
Some of the sensible situations include:
- You don’t feel comfortable making your own will
- Review plan for overlooked topics or potential surprises
- Verify legal compliance with current laws
- Help develop a living will and accompanying documents
- Build a plan for taxes, wealth transfers, charity donations and debt payoffs
- Appoint legal guardians for your children
Essentially, if you have heirs and survivors or plenty of wealth, a lawyer can be worth hiring. However, you may still decide to build your own plan first, and your attorney can put on the finishing touches.
What is a Living Trust and Should I Use One Instead?
A living trust is similar to a will in that it’s a written plan to distribute your personal property and liquid wealth to heirs.
Here are the primary differences between living trusts and wills:
- Court involvement: A living trust has a simpler legal process as you appoint a trustee and don’t have to follow court-ordered probate. Wills have an executor and must go through court (probate) to close the estate which can be time-consuming.
- Appointing guardians for surviving children: Living trusts don’t let you appoint guardians for your children under age 18. If you’re a parent with minor children, you will need a will to appoint guardians.
- Costs: Living trusts can be more expensive to set up and maintain than a last will and testament.
A living trust might be the only document you need to transfer property to your heirs. If so, consider this option to minimize the legal process so the survivors can receive their inheritance sooner.
For more complicated estates, an attorney may recommend having a living trust and will.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still aren’t convinced that an online will maker is right for you, these questions might be able to help clear up any hesitations you have.
Can you make a will online for free?
Yes, you can use a free online will maker for simple estate plans. You will still need to follow the protocols to make your free will legally binding, such as notary services.
Can I write my own will?
It’s possible to write a will on your own. It can be recognized by the courts if you satisfy your state’s legal requirements.
However, using an online will-maker service or hiring an attorney can make the process easier and help verify you don’t overlook any details.
How do I write a will without a lawyer?
The easiest option is using an online will maker that walks you through each step. These services can be free or paid and cheaper than a lawyer.
If you’re comfortable doing everything by yourself, you can also find a template.
What makes a will valid?
Your will must meet these three traits to be considered valid and legal:
- You’re at least 18 years old and have a sound mind
- Qualified witnesses sign your will
- It is notarized
Your state and court system may have additional guidelines to determine if your will is valid.
An online will maker can be the easiest way to get a legally binding will. Using one of the best online will makers instead of hiring a local lawyer helps you save money.
Whether you can make a will for free or even pay extra for attorney service, having the necessary estate planning documents in place will protect your future.