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Who will take care of your children if you and your spouse meet an unexpected demise? What will happen to your assets, like your home, savings, family heirlooms and investments? No one wants to think about end-of-life issues, but it’s up to you to protect your family the way you see fit; otherwise, you’re taking a huge risk. But you can do so easily by making your wills online. If you die without a will, the state will step in to settle everything from child custody to the distribution of your assets and may do so in a way that’s not what you would have wanted.
Hiring an attorney will run you anywhere from $300 to $1,000 or more. But for less than $80 in most cases, you can create your own will using an online will maker or will maker software. It’s an excellent option if you don’t have a complicated estate — and a do-it-yourself will can take as little as 15 minutes to create. We’ll first explore the basics of a will and then give you our recommendations for the best online will maker based on our research.
There are no set standards on how to create a will online, but most wills include the following clauses. Consider all of these factors before you start your DIY will.
- Funeral expenses and payment of debt
- Gifts of personal property, including bank accounts, insurance policies, stocks and bonds, your car, and all household property (specify who is to receive each valuable item)
- Gifts of real estate, including your family home and any other real estate you own
- Appoint an executor and spell out what powers he or she will have (i.e., selling your home, executing tax strategies, etc.)
- A residuary clause that distributes assets that you didn’t anticipate owning
- Signature Required With Witnesses Standing By – Even though you might create your will online, you still need to print it out, sign and witness based on your state’s laws. In most states, you will need two witnesses on-hand to watch you sign your document and vouch for your commitment to this signed plan.
- State Laws. Although you don’t have to hire an attorney to create your will, one of the most important things you need to keep in mind if you’re considering online wills is that laws vary from state to state. While the best online will makers ensure that your will abides by your state’s regulations, not all online wills have this feature. If you’re choosing an online will maker that doesn’t take state law into account, you need to ensure that you’re aware of your state’s estate planning and probate regulations. Otherwise, your will may not be valid.
There are dozens of online will makers, but we’ve done our homework to give you our best recommendations.
LegalZoom is the best online will maker you’ll find. Why? Their prices are reasonable, you get access to their support staff as well as excellent resources on their website, and their will template is one of the easiest to use and understand due to its interview format. You won’t have to worry about your state’s laws — they tailor their documents to each state’s requirements. LegalZoom is also an excellent source for a variety of other legal documents, including those for starting and running a business and many personal and family needs.
- Last will and testament: Starts at $89
Rocket Lawyer Review
Rocket Lawyer is another great online will maker that has a ton of resources on its website. You get step-by-step instructions as you complete your will, and their online software is intuitive and easy to use. You’ll get everything you need to create a last will and testament (including compliance with state laws), and new customers get one legal document free. Rocket Lawyer is worth looking into if you need multiple legal documents, including those for your business and other personal needs.
- Legal document: prices vary (including monthly memberships)
U.S. Legal Wills Review
U.S. Legal Wills is one of the most affordable options for creating an online will, although the process of creating your document isn’t as seamless as LegalZoom or Rocket Lawyer. U.S. Legal Wills also offers other estate planning-related documents (for added fees), including a power of attorney and a living will.
- Last will and testament: $39.95
If you prefer to have software in hand, Quicken WillMaker Plus by Nolo is the best will-making software. WillMaker Plus is Windows-based software that allows you to create a customized estate plan, including a will, healthcare directive, durable power of attorney for finances, and other essential documents. It comes with a hard copy book as well as downloadable software.
Check out this news interview with a University of New Mexico law professor about creating a will.
If you don’t have a will, you’re not alone. According to the latest Gallop poll, less than half of adults (only 46%) have a will. Younger age groups are even less likely to have one, with only one in five for adults under age 30.
Most financial and legal experts stress the importance of creating a will, but many people still perceive it as an expensive and cumbersome undertaking. We hope this article and our recommendations dispel some of that doubt. Creating a will on your own can be an easy and inexpensive process, and we hope our online will-maker reviews have helped you. Ultimately, your family will thank you for it.
Secure Your Financial Future
There is a pyramid of financial planning steps involved in creating a will, including retirement plans, life insurance, short and long-term saving, identity theft insurance, and more. We also encourage you to read our ID protection reviews to stay safe when giving access to important personal information online.Tagged With: Comparison