Online wills and trusts are easy to use with step-by-step instructions or interviews to walk you through creating legal documents. These estate planning tools have been available for years and recently became even more popular. You’ll save time preparing a trust or will online because you use the service in the privacy of your home, at your pace and according to your schedule.
We thoroughly researched the information presented in this guide, but Retirement Living is not offering legal advice. We will explain how to effectively use an online will or trust to help you determine if you should try one of these services. We recommend you have an attorney review your completed documents.
We evaluated 23 providers to find the top online will and trust providers. We considered how the services updated state laws and whether designs are user-friendly. Cost, customer support and easy document revisions were also factors in our decisions.
- Remember to sign your will and follow state requirements for witness signatures and possibly a notary stamp and signature.
- If you move, find out if you need additional signatures to make your will legal in the new state.
- Know how you can update or revise your online will or trust later.
- Don’t use electronic signatures for estate planning documents.
Tips For A Wise Online Will and Trust Buyer
If you die without a will, state laws determine who gets your property and raises your children. A recent Gallup poll revealed that only 46% of U.S. adults have a will. Additional studies show that 47% of these people procrastinate, and 29% don’t think they own adequate assets to leave to heirs.
Online wills and trusts are a low-cost option that’s often ideal for those who need simple estate planning. Creating your will or trust online when you can conveniently set aside time without leaving your home can ease procrastination. Whether you complete a DIY will or trust or see an attorney or financial advisor, these documents provide clarity for your loved ones. Another advantage is preventing the cost of a probate lawyer for your heirs.
How Online Wills and Trusts Work
The best online will makers go beyond just providing fill-in forms. You complete a step-by-step interview, typically with quick access to more information if you need it. You will answer a few questions to determine the information you need to supply. Your answers also customize your documents according to your state’s laws. Some of these questions are:
- Marital status: You will likely name your spouse as a beneficiary and may wish to create a mirrored will if you are married.
- Beneficiaries: Anyone other than a spouse who should receive part of your property.
- Children: You will be able to name guardians for minor children (under age 18).
- Estate size: Online wills and trusts are best for those who do not have a complicated estate.
- Executor: This is a trusted person who takes responsibility for distributing your assets to named beneficiaries.
A good online will or trust guides you through each step of creating your documents.
Most online estate planning options have excellent tech support if you have questions about using the application. Some bundle legal services into the cost or offer this as an option. Having a lawyer look over the documents puts your mind at ease because you’ll be confident you can rely on the will or trust you created.
|Compare the Best Online Will and Trust Providers|
|Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust||Keep data private on your hard drive or an external drive. State laws continuously updated.||$89 to $199|
|US Legal Wills||Separate pricing for basic through more complex needs. Optional legal review.||$40 to $200|
|Trust & Will||Developed with an in-house legal advisor team. Optional legal review.||$40 to $600|
|TotalLegal||Subscription with access to all legal documents and free or discounted legal services.||$90 yearly or $9 to $40 per document|
|Do Your Own Will||No need to enter a credit card number or set up an account. Free, ad-supported.||Free|
|Rocket Lawyer||Subscription includes access to all legal forms. Legal advice included with some packages.||$39 per month or $39 per document|
|Tomorrow||Designed for those who prefer to use a smartphone. Organize and track belongings.||Free ($99 for revocable living trust)|
|Willing||Very easy to use with simplified explanations. Store online and revise as needed.||$69|
|LegalZoom||Attorney Assist with some plans. 60-day money-back guarantee.||$99 to $379|
|Gentreo||Designed for use over your lifetime. Unlimited revisions, notifications for estate law changes.||$100 to $2,500 plus $50 to $500 annually|
How Much Does an Online Will or Trust Cost?
Using an online will or trust costs anywhere from nothing to hundreds of dollars. We found that most free options do not guarantee accuracy, so it’s best to plan to spend at least $50 to $100.
Paying an attorney to draft a will costs between $300 to $1,000 and up. Rates depend on the costs in your area and your level of assets. If you create the will or trust then have an attorney look over documents for accuracy, you could still save money.
Our Search for the Best Online Wills and Trusts
Every online will and trust provider says it’s the easiest or fastest to use. But not all should be making these claims. It would take you days to compare online wills and trusts, so we found the best and explained the strengths of each service.
- We searched through an extensive list of 23 online will and trust providers.
To narrow our selections, we analyzed consumer and expert reviews. We removed those with a 3-star or lower rating from consideration.
- We evaluated providers based on our expert-guided buying criteria.
We chose online wills and trusts that guaranteed adherence to state laws or explained how to determine state requirements. We favored those with user-friendly design, reasonable cost at each service level, excellent customer support and the ability to update the will or trust.
- We placed a priority on transparency.
We excluded an online will or trust service if the company wasn’t upfront about complying with state laws, costs or features.
Best Online Wills and Trusts Reviews
After our evaluation, we chose the best online wills and trusts: Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust, US Legal Wills, Trust & Will, TotalLegal, Do Your Own Will, Rocket Lawyer, Tomorrow, Willing, LegalZoom and Gentreo. Each stood out above and beyond the competition.
Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust Review
Private Offline Data Storage Option |
Nolo Quicken WillMaker & Trust is an excellent choice if you prefer to keep your personal and financial data on your hard drive or an external drive. You can also store your documents securely online, but Nolo Quicken WillMaker & Trust is ideal for those who want complete control over their information.
Order Quicken WillMaker & Trust on Nolo’s website to get a Mac or Windows download with 35 documents for estate planning. You’ll need an internet connection for updates and legal and technical support. You also receive a special needs trusts e-book and another e-book with detailed legal information you can use while creating documents.
An easy-to-follow interview format walks you through working at your pace. Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust creates estate plans for multiple people in your immediate family. Nolo’s expert legal team continuously updates state laws in the software.
Quicken WillMaker & Trust costs range from $89 to $199. You will need to pay to update the software to the most recent version to revise any documents in future years. U.S. citizens can use the product, except those living in Louisiana or U.S. territories.
US Legal Wills Review
Great Flexible Memberships |
US Legal Wills is operated by PartingWishes Inc. This independent organization has been working with lawyers around the country since 2000. Use the website to create your will or power of attorney, specify funeral wishes, and upload important documents. You can also create messages to leave for loved ones after you die.
US Legal Wills allows you to designate one or more Keyholders. These individuals are granted access to the customer’s documents when they die or become mentally incapacitated. Keyholders are typically trusted family members or close friends, and you can make specific documents available to different Keyholders.
US Legal Wills offers flexible pricing, so you don’t pay for more than you need. If you are single or have basic needs, you can create a will for $39.95. Other packages cost from $69.95 to $129.95 for access to more estate planning documents or enhanced features. Couples pay from $59.95 to $199.95. US Legal Wills has a 30-day money-back guarantee. Lawyer review costs an additional $69.99.
Trust & Will Review
Fast Document Creation |
Developed in 2017, Trust & Will is on a mission to make estate planning easy and affordable for just about everyone. The company takes a design-first approach to online wills and trusts to deliver a fast, easy and secure way to create and manage wills and related documents.
Trust & Will documents are state-specific and designed by an in-house team of legal advisors and experts. Your estate planning documents are customized to your individual or family’s needs. Trust & Will says it’s possible to draft a legal document in under one hour. However, we suspect this doesn’t apply to everyone using the service.
Trust & Will packages start at $39.99 and go up to $599.99. After the first year, revisions cost $12 to $39 per year. Attorney support and legal review of documents are available for an additional $200.
Affordable Legal Support Subscription |
TotalLegal offers consumers online wills, living wills, financial powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney and other legal documents. You can pay for the documents you need or use the TotalLegal Plan subscription with discounted legal services.
TotalLegal works like other online will services, starting with an interview. Answer the questions to create a customized will that is legal in your state. When you finish your work, either download the document and print it or have it mailed for an additional fee. Other legal documents work similarly.
The TotalLegal Plan is a subscription with access to all personal and small business legal and free or discounted legal services. Attorneys are associated with the Legal Club of America. Services include consultation, attorney-reviewed documents, attorney letters and calls, annual will update, bankruptcy and many others.
You can complete a single legal document for $9.95 to $39.95. Business-related services and documents are $49.95 to $99.95. The TotalLegal Plan annual subscription is $89.95 and includes secure online legal document storage.
Do Your Own Will Review
Completely Free Wills and Trusts |
Do Your Own Will is a free online service used to create a simple will, simple trust, durable power of attorney and other legal documents. You don’t enter a credit card number to use Do Your Own Will, and you don’t have to create an account. However, you get no additional legal assistance and will need to be sure your document complies with your state’s laws.
You can also use the service to create guardianships for people and pets, living wills, bequests, funeral preferences and instructions for digital asset management. Do Your Own Will provides forms you fill in online to create legal documents. Once you finish, download the document and save it as a PDF or Word document, print and sign.
Do Your Own Will is available in all 50 states but requires you to research to ensure your documents meet your state’s laws. A disclaimer states the company attempts to ensure quality documents, but offers no promise, warranty or guarantee that documents and related materials do not contain errors or omissions.
Rocket Lawyer Review
Great Legal Document Selection |
Rocket Lawyer combines free online legal documents and information with access to affordable licensed attorneys. A Rocket Lawyer premium membership includes full access to legal forms for hundreds of purposes. Documents can be shared, downloaded and printed, and services are available for individuals, families and businesses.
Online estate planning documents include wills, living trusts, seven powers of attorney and 13 trust and trust-related documents. You also have access to documents for marriage, divorce and child matters, health and medical, personal property and more. Business and real estate forms round out Rocket Lawyer’s expansive offerings.
Rocket Lawyer includes attorney services with a premium membership. The perks are 30-minute consultations for new legal matters, legal questions answered, Document Defense for help with enforcing contracts and 40% off a Rocket Lawyer On Call local attorney. The premium subscription is $39.99 per month for unlimited access, and there’s a seven-day free trial.
Those who don’t need access to multiple DIY wills, trusts and other legal documents can forgo the monthly membership and pay $39.99 for lifetime access to a single document. Nonmembers can also ask a legal question ($49.99), get a 30-minute consultation with a lawyer ($59.99) and use Document Defense ($9.99 per document).
Great Mobile App |
Tomorrow is designed to make estate planning affordable, understandable and less time-consuming. You can create a will online, but Tomorrow’s development is focused on the mobile app. The app is thoughtfully designed to make it easy to create a will while organizing and tracking your belongings.
You can create a free online will, medical consent, advance directive or power of attorney with Tomorrow. Revocable living trusts cost $99. Tomorrow can also create databases to track financial and physical assets.
Tomorrow can help you determine how much insurance you or your family needs, with free insurance quotes. You can connect trusted individuals to your Tomorrow account, so they can access your documents upon your death.
Great for Simple Wills |
Willing was developed by a team of attorneys to make creating an online will a straightforward process. The team at Willing analyzed court-filed wills to identify challenging areas for clients. The Willing online app overcomes those challenges with simplified explanations and an easy-to-understand questionnaire used to create your will.
Willing adheres to laws in all 50 states and provides a checklist for guidance, and you don’t pay until you print your will. The $69 cost allows you to securely save your will online and make changes to it later. Willing includes a basic living will, durable power of attorney, revocable living trust and transfer-on-death deed with each will.
We found online reviews that stated Willing also offers a $299 Homeowner package and a $399 Ultimate Care package. However, there is no information about more comprehensive options on the website. You may see a sales pitch for upgrades as you complete your will. Willing is easy to use but only suitable for simple wills.
Longest Money-Back Guarantee |
LegalZoom customers have created over 3.5 million online estate planning documents and 1.5 million wills since 2001. The platform offers four service tiers for ease and affordability. LegalZoom provides a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Use LegalZoom’s Basic Last Will ($89) for step-by-step guidance to create your will online. Your document will be specific to your state’s laws as you decide how to divide your property. If you have minor children, you will specify who will raise them should you die. You can update or edit your will an unlimited number of times for 30 days after purchase.
LegalZoom’s Comprehensive Last Will ($99) includes everything in the basic package plus Attorney Assist legal advice for two weeks after you pay. Attorney Assist renews monthly for $14.99 until you cancel the service.
The Last Will Estate Plan ($179) offers a will, financial power of attorney and living will or advanced health care directive. You can make revisions for up to one year, with Attorney Assist included during that time. The legal advice renews annually for under $120 unless you cancel. Two people can use the plan, each creating their own documents, for $279.
LegalZoom Living Trust Estate Plan ($329) has the same benefits as the Last Will Estate Plan, with a trust replacing the will. The $379 two-person version includes one living trust, two powers of attorney and two living wills.
Great Customer Service |
Gentreo offers three service levels with a substantial number of documents. Gentreo prices are higher, but the service is designed to be used throughout your life. For example, you’ll be notified if your will needs to be updated due to changes in state laws. Gentreo saves documents securely online with an affordable annual subscription.
The $100 Gentreo Gold Plan comes complete with a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care proxy, pet power of attorney and a pet trust. You’ll receive online or phone coaching for help setting up documents in a secure digital vault. You specify who can access the vault and under what circumstances. This plan includes unlimited revisions, an annual document review and access to partner lawyers. Pay $50 annually to continue Gentreo Gold services.
Gentreo Platinum Plan includes everything at the Gold level plus one annual notarization, verification of critical information and key people, a one-hour Gentreo coaching session and one yearly video message for family members. The Platinum Plan costs $500 initially, then $100 to renew benefits each year.
Upgrade to Gentreo Diamond to add a Gold Plan for your spouse or parents and Platinum services for yourself. You’ll pay $2,500 for everyone on the plan to receive unlimited coaching. Other benefits are:
- Three annual notarization sessions
- A legal review from a third-party lawyer
- Three annual produced video messages for family members
Pay $500 each year to retain these services.
Free Unlimited Updates |
FreeWill is a top-quality online will and trust provider. Answer a few simple questions to receive a printable PDF document with instructions to guide you through signing and witnessing your will. FreeWill is completely free to use, thanks to funding from over 700 charitable organizations. Your documents are stored indefinitely, and you can update them at any time.
In addition to a legally-binding will, FreeWill includes:
- Beneficiary designation for assets not included in a will, like 401(k)s and IRAs.
- Advance healthcare directive.
- Financial power of attorney.
- Charitable giving designations.
FreeWill makes gifting stock to charities easy. You are not required to make donations, but you have over 200 charities to choose from if you decide to do so. Gifting stock from your estate helps to reduce capital gains taxes while you support worthy organizations.
The American Red Cross, United Way, Defenders of Wildlife and Disabled American Veterans have received the most donations via FreeWill. Around 19% of people using the free online will maker elect to donate.
Frequently Asked Questions about Online Wills and Trusts
Does a will template do the same thing as an online will?
No. Templates you use online or download may be inexpensive, but a template doesn’t use an interview to customize your document. Most templates are not tailored to state laws, which can cause problems for your heirs as they attempt to avoid probate.
Do I need to do anything for estate planning besides completing an online will or trust?
Completing a financial power of attorney and health care directive is also essential. Most of our best online wills and trusts will walk you through those documents. You can get a state-specific health care directive from any clinic or doctor in your area.
Can I skip seeing an attorney if I make an online will or trust?
It is ideal to see a lawyer for a quick consultation before delving into an online will or trust so you understand your state’s requirements. The most popular online will and trust services also recommend having a lawyer look over your completed documents. This comes with a cost, but less than you would pay a lawyer to draft the will or trust.
Should I specify who will receive my life insurance benefits in an online will or trust?
No. You establish your life insurance beneficiaries when you apply for the policy. There should be no mention of life insurance in your will or trust.
How do I know an online will or trust is legal?
Some online providers have fine print stating that there is no guarantee the final document will comply with state laws. If you can’t easily find a guarantee that an online will or trust complies with both federal and state laws, choose another service.
The best online will and trust companies work with legal professionals to ensure legally binding estate planning documents. Check with an attorney or a reliable online source like FindLaw to view your state’s requirements. If you move to another state, you may have to update your will or trust due to differing signing requirements.
It’s best to use an online will and trust in combination with legal advice.
Online wills and trusts can be completed to meet legal requirements. Still, you need to be sure the documents are signed and executed correctly. State laws can be challenging to understand, and online services may not show you the most strategic estate planning.
You can save time and money while conveniently creating a will or trust online. However, you should ideally consult with an attorney both before and after you work on your documents.
The Best Online Wills and Trusts
|1||Trust & Will||Fast Document Creation|
|2||FreeWill||Free Unlimited Updates|
|2||Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust||Private Offline Data Storage Option|
|3||US Legal Wills||Great Flexible Memberships|
|4||TotalLegal||Affordable Legal Support Subscription|
|5||Do Your Own Will||Completely Free Wills and Trusts|
|6||Rocket Lawyer||Great Legal Document Selection|
|7||Tomorrow||Great Mobile App|
|8||Willing||Great for Simple Wills|
|9||LegalZoom||Long Money-Back Guarantee|
|10||Gentreo||Great Coaching Included|