LegalZoom Review

4.3 Stars

Updated:

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Flat-fee structures are less confusing for consumers, and LegalZoom offers two estate planning packages for wills and trusts. Each estate plan includes a last will or living trust, financial power of attorney, healthcare directive, and HIPAA authorization. The company also has independent attorneys available in all 50 states who can help ensure that your documents comply with your state’s laws.

Editorial Breakdown

Product Options

4.5 Stars

Costs

4.7 Stars

Ease of Use

4.3 Stars

Customer Service

4.3 Stars

Overall Rating

4.3 Stars

Bottom Line

Create legally binding estate planning documents quickly and enlist the help of professional attorneys for less than competitors.

Since 2001, LegalZoom has helped more than 1.3 million people write a will online without the need to hire a lawyer. An affordable solution for estate planning, you can create a will for $199 and a trust for $499. When it comes to estate planning services, there are several online will and trust companies that offer similar packages. However, LegalZoom stands out to us for its affordable attorney support, which you can get for $200 less than competitor companies. 

Their platform is especially useful for simple estates. LegalZoom claims you can create a complete and customized estate plan in about 30 minutes, but we suggest taking your time, as these documents are vital for safeguarding your wishes and your assets. Read the legal guidance provided for each form to ensure you create a document that fits your family’s needs.

Pros:

  • Option to purchase “individual” and “couple” plans
  • Unlimited updates during the first year
  • Estate planning bundles
  • Affordable state-specific legal assistance

Cons:

  • One year of unlimited revisions only available in Premium plan
  • Purchasing a plan online can be confusing

LegalZoom’s Will Maker Features and Benefits

In addition to helping you finalize necessary estate planning documents, LegalZoom services come with these benefits:

  1. Share access: The option to share documents with loved ones, financial advisors, and other professionals so they can access your estate plan in a virtual format.
  2. Customer support: LegalZoom representatives are available via phone or online chat seven days a week.
  3. Attorney review: Access to personalized legal support from an attorney in your state. This service is available in all 50 states.
  4. Sample documents: For added convenience, download state-specific sample wills, trusts, and POAs.
  5. Authorized contact: You can give someone else access to your account by adding them as an authorized contact.
LegalZoom will customize your documents according to your state and goals.

Wills

The Basic Will plan includes a last will & testament, healthcare directive, financial power of attorney, and HIPAA authorization. This package allows you to name guardians for your children and pets, name an agent to manage finances, and decide who gets what. You can also convey final healthcare wishes and designate a healthcare proxy.

LegalZoom can help you create a legally binding will, but a will is not effective until after the testator dies. If you want to ensure there are no gaps in your estate plan, you can have both a living trust and a will.

Trusts

With a trust, you can transfer ownership of your assets into the trust while still remaining in complete control of your property. When planning their estate, some may choose to create a trust because assets in a trust don’t need to go through probate and can be distributed according to the trust’s terms faster.

LegalZoom’s living trust product is a good option for those with a complex estate, such as those with multiple properties, investment accounts, and/or sizable assets. With LegalZoom’s Trust service, you can create the following estate planning documents:

  • Living trust
  • Pour-over will
  • Healthcare directive
  • Financial power of attorney
  • HIPAA authorization
  • Certificate of trust
  • Schedule of assets
  • Bill of transfer

How to Write a Will With LegalZoom 

Some might find creating a will online a bit intimidating, LegalZoom’s platform is easy to use — even if you lack technical aptitude. The online creator has a user-friendly design with simple form-fill questions to complete your documents. 

To make a will with LegalZoom, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  1. Fill out your basic information (i.e., marital status, whether you have children, your state, etc.).
  2. Name guardians for your children and your pets, if applicable.
  3. Name beneficiaries and name specific exclusions for recipients, if applicable.
  4. Appoint an executor and an optional backup executor. You can also appoint a digital executor for social media accounts, emails, or cryptocurrency accounts.
  5. Allocate gifts and charity donations as they pertain to your property, financial accounts, life insurance, and more.

As you answer these questions, LegalZoom will create your documents according to your state laws. If you’ve added legal advice, you can allow the attorney to review your documents, or you can review them yourself. Then, download your documents or have them mailed to you for free. 

To finalize your documents, you’ll need to legalize your will according to your state’s requirements. In many cases, this will require signing your documents alongside two witnesses.

Long money-back guarantee

4.8 Stars

LegalZoom

  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • 3 online will and estate planning packages

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Policy for Updating Your Wills & Trusts

When selecting a service to help plan your estate, you should look for companies that allow revisions as your needs change. LegalZoom offers free unlimited updates for the first 30 days or free unlimited updates for one year under its Premium plan. Your documents will be stored on the platform, so it’s easy for you to update them in your dashboard as needed. 

Beyond the first year, you’ll pay a smaller fee to continue your membership and edit your documents.

LegalZoom vs. Using an Attorney

LegalZoom is a low-cost way to create estate planning documents quickly and easily, but it’s important to remember that the company is not a law firm. While you can follow along with general guidance and, in some plans, attorney support, LegalZoom is not intended to take the place of a licensed attorney. Before making any online purchase, consult a lawyer or financial advisor about adequately protecting your estate and assets.

If you want to protect a simple estate, LegalZoom may be a good option for creating legitimate documents without paying high attorney fees. The cost to write a will can range anywhere from $300 to $1,500. However, LegalZoom documents are built using standard language to accommodate a wide range of customer scenarios, save for certain customization features. 

If you’d prefer extra peace of mind, LegalZoom offers one year of unlimited 30-minute calls with a licensed attorney who will review your documents and offer input. This service costs $100.

LegalZoom Pricing

LegalZoom costs vary depending on whether you want legal assistance and whether you want to create a will as an individual or a couple. Its Will plan costs $199, $299, or $399, and its Trust plan costs $499, $599, or $699. LegalZoom offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Upon purchase, you unlock access to numerous features and benefits throughout the year, including unlimited edits. However, you’ll need to continue with the annual service (at a deeply discounted rate) to update, revise, and store documents.

Will: Estate plan staple documents$199 for individuals or $299 for couples (Basic plan)
Trust: Assets, children, and healthcare planning documents$499 for individuals or $599 for couples (Basic plan)
Attorney Support: Access to licensed pros in your stateAvailable with the Premium Plan (+$100)
LegalZoom Costs

LegalZoom Complaints

The LegalZoom Better Business Bureau profile has more than 5,400 reviews and boasts an A+ rating — a score the BBB only gives to transparent, reliable, and reputable companies. On Trustpilot, LegalZoom has a 4.3-star rating based on more than 3,800 reviews. About 84% of the reviews are 4 or 5 stars. Its 1-star reviews reference trouble contacting customer service regarding its auto bill feature. 

The company does have a large number of customer complaints online, many of which reference the LLC and Registered Agent services, not the Wills or Trust plans. However, customers have issued several warnings stating that LegalZoom will automatically renew your Will or Trust plan after one year, unless you remember to cancel. 

LegalZoom FAQs 

What information do I need to prepare a trust?

To prepare a trust with LegalZoom, you’ll need: 

  1. Basic information about you, your family, and your pets
  2. The name of the person you’ll designate as guardian of your children and pets
  3. A person to name as successor trustee to manage your trust and distribute your assets
  4. Names of individuals you’d like to receive your assets; this could be family members, specific individuals, or charities
  5. Preferences for your final arrangements
  6. Information about your assets to help your successor trustee and beneficiaries collect and distribute your estate (optional) 

Can you update your documents with LegalZoom?

With a Basic plan, you can update your documents as needed for 30 days. If you need to make revisions beyond that, you’ll need to purchase a Premium plan, which allows you to make unlimited updates for a year. 

Who is LegalZoom best for?

Attorney fees for trusts are substantial, and LegalZoom offers attorney assistance at a more affordable price point than its competitors. Online will makers are best for those with a modest amount of personal possessions and conventional assets for retirement. If you have to consider special needs or other complex familial situations while planning your estate, you might consider hiring a professional to draft a plan based on your personal needs. 

How secure is LegalZoom?

LegalZoom leverages encryption security methods to protect your information. The website advertises “industry level” protections.

Conclusion

After evaluating LegalZoom’s offerings, we deem the company a good choice for fast, affordable planning for simple estates. Its documents are state-specific and you can leverage professional advice for a reasonable fee (as an upgrade). The chat feature was very responsive and its online dashboard was easy to use. To learn more about estate planning, visit the LegalZoom website.

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