Although we don't like to think about death, it is a fact of life. You can greatly relieve the burden left on your family members by creating a will or a trust to explain how you would like your property and possessions divided.
To help simplify this process, there are a number of online services available that take out much of the guesswork from generating these necessary legal documents. Many online legal services are managed by lawyers who will ensure that your will, living trust, and other such documentation meets legal standards.
Information about these types of documents, access to actual attorneys, and the ability to contact customer service representatives around the clock with questions help take much of the guesswork out of this process. Additionally, by using an online documentation preparation service, you can often save yourself hundreds of dollars in legal fees.
If you have a legal background and do not
require extensive legal advice, there are a number of companies that provide file downloads or kits that can help you create your own will, living will, trust, and so on. After purchasing a file download, you can complete the document on your personal computer. This enables you to make as many copies of the document as you like. Additionally, you can make changes to your will or trust at any time. Keep in mind that wills and trusts that are produced in this way are not reviewed by a legal team. However, if you
do not require expert guidance, file downloads and kits are inexpensive alternatives.
When looking at different online will services, there are certain factors you need to consider. Some of these include:
Credibility. Is the website professional? Have the documents been prepared by individuals with a legal background?
Information Provided. Is information provided to help guide you through the process? Can you easily contact customer service representatives if you have questions? Does the company provide access to legal experts?
Cost. Are the products offered on a competitive pricing scale?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best will services available today. We hope this information helps you get your Will created right away!
Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.
Rocket Lawyer's website is appealing and easy to use. They feature a few free educational articles, but the focus of the home page is a simple, three-step process in which you select a legal form, create the document, and then finalize it. With a clear list of available legal forms, it is easy to select the document you are looking for.
Unlike some of the other companies reviewed, Rocket Lawyer does not sell downloadable forms, legal kits, or books. All of their products are interactive, online documents that are reviewed by professional attorneys. Furthermore, if you have questions during the process, you can use their local lawyer directory links or the Talk to a Lawyer Now feature. This feature enables you to pick a lawyer from a long
list, click the Call Now button, and speak to that individual.
>Product offerings include an online Will document for $29.95. This form is longer than the other online wills we rated, so it takes a bit longer to complete. However, when you are finished, you'll have a more detailed will. Although some of the questions might initially seem a little intimidating to a novice, Rocket Lawyer provides quality help and advice for every question, and your final will is produced by
professional attorneys. Once your form is completed, you can either print it right away or download it at any time. Rocket Lawyer allows you to edit your document as much as you want, and they provide online storage.
Rocket Lawyer also offers an online living trust document for $49.95. A living trust may be better than a will for many customers because it allows assets to be passed to heirs without having to go through probate-saving heirs time and money. To complete the living trust document, you must answer a number of questions (similar to those posed for the online will document). Once finished, you can print, download,
and edit your online living trust document. Once finalized, it includes the following items:
Certification of trust
Bank trust letter
Mortgage lender trust letter
Bill of transfer
Not only is Rocket Lawyer the best resource we found for online wills and living trusts, but they also offer a membership plan - a useful option for individuals looking for ongoing legal documentation services. A personal Rocket Lawyer membership is only $19.95 per month, or $99.95 for a whole year. A professional membership is $295.00 per year. Membership includes H&R Block tax service savings, unlimited
legal documents, online document editing, File Safekeeper document storage, and Rocket Lawyer desktop software.
With all of these perks, Rocket Lawyer is our top-rated selection.
LegalZoom offers many legal document options at competitive prices. All of their online forms and processes have been developed by attorneys. Furthermore, the instructions and questions used to complete these forms are not as complicated as the instructions and questions used by many other companies we reviewed. Additionally, members of the LegalZoom team review each of your answers, so that your final document
is consistent and complete. This is a significant benefit, as a customer using a completely automated legal form could easily make mistakes. When the form has been finalized, LegalZoom will print it and ship it to you.
LegalZoom offers the following types of wills:
Standard Will - $69.00
Gold Will - $99.00 (Customers can revise this will after it has been completed)
Vault Will - $119.00 (This will can be revised, same-day service is available, and LegalZoom will store the will for five years)
Add-on services are also offered with any will purchase. For example, LegalZoom will prepare and file a real estate deed transfer. The fee for this service varies by state and ranges from $200.00 to $400.00. A living will can be added for $39.00 and power of attorney for $35.00.
LegalZoom, like many companies we reviewed, recommends a living trust rather than a will. Living trusts allow assets to be passed to heirs without having to go through probate - saving heirs both time and money.
LegalZoom offers the following types of living trusts:
Standard Living Trust - $219.00 (For an individual)
Joint Living Trust - $249.00 (This living trust includes a LegalZoom review and property transfer letters)
Gold Living Trust - $329.00 (You can make five revisions to this trust)
Vault Living Trust - $449.00 (This trust includes all the features of the other trusts. It also includes electronic vault storage for five years)
All of the services offered by LegalZoom were clearly defined, the forms were easy to use, and the website was easy to navigate. However, LegalZoom is slightly more expensive than our top-rated service and they do not offer a membership option for your ongoing legal documentation needs. Still, for all sorts of legal documents including Wills, LegalZoom is a strong choice.
Nolo offers more on their website than any of the other companies we reviewed. Their website contains a thorough list of articles on legal issues, such as "Wills," "Getting Organized for Your Family," "Living Trusts and Avoiding Probate," "Estate Taxes," and "Life Insurance." The Nolo website also contains a lawyer directory that lists contact information for lawyers in
Nolo offers an online will for $59.95. Their simple online form includes legal and practical information to help you as you work. With the Nolo online will, you can do the following:
Name beneficiaries to inherit your property
Name a guardian to care for your young children
Create a trust to manage your children's property
Cancel debts others owe you
State how your debts, expenses, and taxes are to be paid
Nolo's products, other than the online will, include books,e-books, forms, and downloads that enable you to create your own legal documents. The advantage of a downloadable will form is that you can complete it on your own computer and then change the will at any time. A disadvantage is that the document is not checked by a legal expert.
Nolo's many products include Quicken Willmaker Plus, which is sold on CD for $44.99 or as a download for $39.99. Additionally, Nolo sells Make Your Living Trust in book form with a CD ROM for $33.99 or as an e-book for $29.99. They also sell Eight Ways to Avoid Probate in book form for $16.99 or as an e-book for $14.99.
If you're looking for information and articles about legal issues, this might be the service for you. However, Nolo does not offer the same number of online legal document selections as the higher-rated services.
Global Wills has some of the best prices we found for wills and other legal documents, and their online will service is similar to many other companies we reviewed. This online will sells for $47.95 for a U.S. document-other countries are also available. However, their online will is the only online documentation product that Global Wills offers. The rest of their legal document offerings are in the form of downloadable
The Last Will and Testament kit is 68 pages long, and it sells for $29.97. The advantage of being able to download and complete your will on your own computer is that you can change your will at any time. A key disadvantage, though, is that the document is not checked by a legal expert. To make changes to a will without rewriting the entire document, Global Wills sells the 26-page Codicil to a Last Will and Testament kit
for $14.99. The 50-page Essential Guide to Funeral Planning kit sells for $29.95.
>Global Wills also sells a Living Will kit for $19.95, so you can direct the course that is to be taken by caregivers and even forbid medical procedures in specified situations. Global Wills also addresses the issue of probate with a 26-page Executer's Probate guide for $29.95. The How Living Trusts Avoid Probate guide is also available for $29.95.
Global Wills is an excellent company for customers who are confident enough to complete documents without professional help, and their product offerings cost less than many other companies we reviewed. However, if you are looking for more guidance in completing your document, you might first consider the many online document offerings from one of the higher-rated services.
Parting Wishes offers a list of services to assist those with end-of-life matters including wills, living wills, powers of attorney and more. Parting Wishes is geared to assist anyone with creating their will via their online wizard and makes the process rather straightforward. Parting Wishes currently holds an impressive A+ Better Business Bureau rating.
The only trick is finding the will section at Parting Wishes. Shoppers will need to click on the Last Will and Testament link to get started. You'll find the option for “More info” about their services or allow the company to walk you through the process before actually paying via their “Try it now” tab. At any point during the process of creating a will via Parting Wishes, the website allows you to stop and click on a tab or mouse over the section for additional details. Overall, the question and answer section is easy to follow. At the end, the customer is given the option to maintain an online copy or print and have their signature notarized. It's possible that if you a will created and signed today that it can be accomplished at Parting Wishes.
The cost of their will service is dependent on which package is purchased. Parting Wishes offers two different levels of services to choose from. $34.95 includes unlimited updates for 1 year as well as access to create funeral wishes, notes to loved ones, memorials, and a personal website with the history of the customer's life. This package may be extended up to 10 years, 25 years or a lifetime for an additional cost. The Gold package includes everything in the Silver plus the option to create a power of attorney and a living will with options to extend the time frame for an additional cost. Also, for $69.00 you may choose to have a legal professional review your will for accuracy and reasonability.
A strong focus on customer service and a strong BBB rating gave Parting Wishes a decent ranking. Despite a less professional looking website, Parting Wishes is effective at assisting customers with their end of life planning and does so at an affordable price.
LawDepot provides an online will that is similar to many other companies we reviewed. For $19.00, customers receive a one-month license that enables them to print, edit, and download the will during this time. Customers can also contact LawDepot's technical support personnel by e-mail during this period. For $18.00 more, customers can use all of these resources for a whole year. LawDepot also adds a $12.00 fee for legal
information and technical support.
LawDepot offers a Health Care Directive, which includes a living will and a medical power of attorney. Customers may purchase just one of these documents or both. The online living will is $15.99. Customers can print, edit, and download the document for two weeks. To get unlimited access to the document for one year, LawDepot charges $32.00. LawDepot also offers an accuracy review of the document for $15.99.
A medical power of attorney document allows you to choose someone to make health care decisions if you are unable to do so. This online document is priced at $17.50. For this price, you can print, edit, and download the document for two weeks. For $32.00, you can print, edit, and download the document from the LawDepot website for one year. An accuracy review of this document is $15.99.
A subscription to the LawDepot website is $33.00 per month. This subscription fee includes unlimited access to all documents on their website, the ability to edit and print an unlimited number of forms, and e-mail support.
The LawDepot website also includes some useful free resources. Their collection of links includes legal dictionaries, software, and libraries. These resources might be helpful if you are looking for information about particular types of legal documents. However, overall, LawDepot is not as impressive as the higher-rated services.
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