Can (And Should) I Create My Will Online?

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Person writing will: How to Create Wills OnlineWho 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 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. If you don’t have a will, you should — and it’s not as daunting a task as you might think.

Did You Know…

You’re not required to have a lawyer draw up your will? 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.

Article Overview

What’s Involved In Creating A Will?

People carrying casket at funeral

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.

Witnessing In A Pandemic

With the current COVID-19 quarantine situation in most states and countries around the world, we are seeing lots of creative solutions to the witnessing of wills. Some may be willing to visit an outside area at your home to witness and sign with gloved hands and masks from a 6 foot distance. We even heard of one elderly woman who asked her witnesses to come to her living room window and all parties wore gloves while passing the papers through a cracked window. You may have to be innovative, but there are legal ways to meet these requirements, even during a pandemic. And, sadly, with the mortality rate from this virus, it is more important than ever to get your documents in order.

What Else Do You Need To Consider?

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 make sure that you’re aware of your state’s estate planning and probate regulations; otherwise, your will may not be valid.

Best Wills Online

There are dozens of online will makers, but we’ve done our homework to give you our best recommendations.

LegalZoom Review

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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 for 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

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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

U.S. Legal Wills Review

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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 power of attorney and a living will.

  • Last will and testament: $39.95

Best Will Maker Software: Quicken WillMaker Plus 2019

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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.

Price:  $79.99

What Do Legal Experts Advise?

Check out this news interview with a University of New Mexico law professor about creating a will.

Why Wait On Creating A Will?

If you don’t have a will, you’re not alone. According to the AARP, 78% of millennials and 64% of Generations Xers did not have a will in 2017. Why don’t they have one?  47% said they hadn’t gotten around to it and 29% said they don’t have enough assets to leave to anyone.

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. And, ultimately, your family will thank you for it.

Wills And Identity Theft Insurance Can Help Set You Up For Success

While meeting with her financial planner, Kimberly, a writer for Safe Smart Living, learned about the different ways to plan for the future. She learned about the pyramid of financial planning and that it included creating a will, retirement plans, life insurance, short and long term saving, identity theft insurance and more.

Safe Smart Living doesn’t cover all of these topics, but we do cover identity theft insurance, which we think is a must for everyone. If you’d like to learn more about id theft insurance and your options, read our Identity Theft Protection Reviews.

What’s stopping you from creating your will?

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance.

Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

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