Coping with the death of a family member is always hard. But if that person dies intestate — without a will — it can be an absolute nightmare. Their nearest relatives may need to spend months sorting out the estate in court. Anyone who isn’t a blood relative — including close friends and even domestic partners — typically ends up with nothing.
The only way to spare your loved ones this hardship is to write a will. But if you’re like many Americans, you’ve been putting it off. Perhaps you think it will cost too much or the amount of work seems overwhelming.
Online will-makers help address these problems. For a modest fee, these services walk you through the steps to allocate your assets, arrange for the care of your children, and make plans for your funeral. In most cases, they can get the whole job done in an hour or less.
The Best Online Will-Makers
Our pick for the best online will-maker, Trust & Will, can provide a full set of estate planning documents for a flat fee. It’s a little costlier than other services, but it’s very user-friendly and provides access to legal support.
The other services on this list all stand out in particular ways. These include value, ease of use, and specific features like mirror wills for couples.
Best Overall: Trust & Will
Our top pick for DIY will-making is Trust & Will. For a flat fee of $159 ($259 for a couple), it provides a basic set of customized, state-specific estate planning documents:
- A last will and testament
- A health care directive (also called a living will)
- A power of attorney
- A Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization, which allows health care providers and others to share your private health information
- One year of unlimited updates (renewable at $19 per year)
Trust & Will is pricier than most services, and legal support costs extra — $200 per year for unlimited calls. However, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Simple, user-friendly questionnaire format
- Download your will in as little as 15 minutes
- Option to receive a paper copy by mail
- Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation with an A+ rating and a 4.9-star rating on Trustpilot
Best Value: Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust
Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust gives you the most features for your money. Its starter package can create a will, health care directive, and final arrangements for a flat fee of $89. However, these documents are not valid in Louisiana, United States territories, or Canada.
For $129, you can add a durable power of attorney, a living trust, and a letter to survivors outlining your last wishes. For $199, you also get a secure digital storage vault. One thing you can’t get is legal support — it’s not even available as an add-on.
- Downloadable software for Mac or Windows
- Updated yearly
- Easy interview format
- User-friendly legal manual to answer common questions
- BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating
Best for Making Updates: Rocket Lawyer
If you expect your estate situation to change periodically, Rocket Lawyer is the service for you. This monthly subscription gives you access to a wide range of legal documents and allows unlimited revisions and copies. Along with complete estate planning documents, it includes contracts, lease agreements, and divorce agreements.
There are two ways to use it:
- Nonmembers pay by the document; a will costs $39.99, and legal support is extra.
- Premium members pay $39.99 per month for unlimited documents and legal support.
- Valid in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
- On-call attorneys
- Ability to sign documents securely online and invite others to sign
- Secure online storage
- Free seven-day trial
- BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating and 4.7 stars on Trustpilot
Best for Legal Support: LegalZoom
LegalZoom provides fast, easy access to legal counsel from an independent attorney familiar with your state’s laws on all but the lowest-tier plan. LegalZoom has three tiers:
- Basic Last Will provides a personalized, state-specific will for $89.
- Comprehensive Last Will adds two weeks of legal questions answered by attorneys for $99 (support renews at $14.99 per month).
- Estate Plan Bundle includes a will, living will, financial power of attorney, and a year of free revisions and legal advice on estate planning for $179 (renews at $119.88 per year).
- Valid in all 50 states
- Free revisions for 30 days with Basic and Comprehensive plans
- Easy interview format
- BBB-accredited company with an A rating and 4.3 stars on Trustpilot
Best for Couples: US Legal Wills
With U.S. Legal Wills, creating a pair of wills for you and your spouse is nearly as quick and easy as making one. When you make yours, your spouse can easily create a “mirror will” that exactly reflects yours. For instance, you could each leave everything to each other, with your kids splitting up your assets once you’re both deceased.
The service costs $39.99 for one will or $59.95 for a couple. Additional documents like final arrangements or living wills cost extra.
- Valid in all states except Louisiana
- Forms available for expats and assets outside the U.S.
- Legal review available for an extra fee
- Free unlimited updates for one year
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- BBB-accredited company (PartingWishes Inc) with an A+ rating and 4.4 stars on Trustpilot
Best for Families With Young Children: Fabric
Fabric is a term life insurance company that offers an online will kit as a perk. Its wills are designed primarily for families with young children. They include such features as:
- Naming a guardian for your children
- Mirroring wills with your spouse
- Outlining your wishes about funeral plans
The service is ideal for families with relatively simple estate needs. And it’s free to use, even if you don’t have a Fabric insurance policy. However, wills are not state-specific, and there’s no access to legal advice or telephone support.
- Online service or iOS app
- Fast process (five to 10 minutes)
- Ability to share your will with trusted contacts
- Ability to apply for life insurance at the same time
- BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating and 4.8 stars on Trustpilot
Best for Comprehensive Estate Planning: TotalLegal
If you want a DIY option for more complicated wills, TotalLegal is your best bet. This service offers a wealth of legal documents for estate planning and business.
There are two ways to use TotalLegal:
- Buy Individual Documents. You can make a last will and testament, power of attorney, and medical power of attorney for $19.95 each. Living wills cost $14.95.
- TotalLegal Plan. For $89.95 per year or $9.95 per month, you can get all these documents and have them reviewed by an attorney. And you get access to a variety of free and discounted legal services as well.
- Valid in all states except Louisiana
- 60 days of free updates for individual documents
- Secure, unlimited online document storage
- BBB-accredited business with an A+ rating and 4.5 stars on Trustpilot
Best Free Option: Doyourownwill.com
There are only a few free online will-makers. Of these, Doyourownwill.com is the most comprehensive. In addition to wills, it can handle other common estate planning needs, such as guardianship forms for kids and pets, durable power of attorney forms, and living wills.
This free ad-supported service can only do simple wills, and it doesn’t provide access to a legal team. But it can create a will in PDF or editable document form in as little as five minutes.
- Available in all 50 states
- Basic info on legal topics, such as the probate process and naming an executor
- Estate planning and funeral planning checklists
- Ability to share your will with trusted contacts online
- Unlimited free updates
Methodology: How We Select the Best Online Will-Makers
We compared professional and user reviews for 13 online will-making services. Then we evaluated each one based on six metrics.
We ranked the services based on pricing and ease of use. We also looked at the features each service offers, such as access to legal support and applicability in different states. Based on the results, we selected the best services for different types of users and needs.
Ease of Use
The primary benefit of will-making services is that they simplify the process of estate planning. You don’t need a legal expert. The software takes your instructions and converts them into a legal document for you.
That’s why ease of use is the top criterion for choosing this kind of software. The best online will-makers can ask a few questions and produce a simple will in as little as 10 minutes. If you need a more complex will or additional documents, they typically provide the tools to create those as well.
The other major reason to choose an online will-maker is to save money. In 2021, Americans who hired estate lawyers to draft their wills through Thumbtack typically paid between $940 and $1,500. With an online service, you can generally do it for under $300 — potentially even free.
We considered only services that can get you from nothing to a legal will ready for signing for $200 or less. Most of them cost significantly less than that. With some, you can pay extra for a monthly subscription to access and update your will as needed, but they don’t require that.
The ideal online will-maker should work for everyone. It should work on any computer’s operating system — Windows, iOS, or Linux — or even a phone.
Not all of our top will-making services meet this standard, but they all come close. Some have a Web-based platform accessible on any device. Others have downloadable software that requires users to run Mac iOS or Windows on their computer.
Making a will online does you no good if it isn’t legally valid. Different U.S. states and territories have different requirements for legal wills. The best online will-makers customize your will for your state, and the companies update them frequently to ensure the advice remains current.
This roundup includes some options that aren’t legal in every U.S. state because they do a good job in the areas where they’re legal. Before buying, check that the software you choose works in your state.
Access to Legal Support
It’s easy to create a simple will without speaking to a lawyer. However, if your needs are more complex, it’s nice to have access to an attorney who can help you through the process. That’s a big help if you want other documents, such as a living will or living trust.
The best online will-makers provide legal support either online or by phone. On-staff lawyers can answer your questions and ensure your estate planning documents are legally binding.
Problems with will-making software don’t always show up in a professional test. That’s why it’s helpful to see what customers have to say about the product. If many customers have submitted complaints through sites like the BBB, Trustpilot, or Amazon, that’s a red flag.
For each of the online will-makers listed here, we’ve checked ratings on all three of these sites. The programs aren’t always reviewed in all three places, but the reviews available show good overall ratings.
Online Will-Maker FAQs
Still not sure whether an online will-maker is right for you? Learn more about how this software works and what it can and can’t do.
What Is an Online Will-Maker?
An online will-maker is software you can use to produce a legally valid last will and testament. Many online will-makers can also create other legal forms for estate planning, such as a living will, living trust, or financial power of attorney.
Most online will-makers are fully online platforms you access through a website or app. However, a few come in the form of a software download, allowing you to work on your will offline.
How Does an Online Will-Maker Work?
Most online will-makers use a questionnaire format. They walk you through a series of questions about:
- Your assets
- Your beneficiaries
- Your executor (the person in charge of putting your will into effect)
- Guardians for children, pets, and other dependents
Then, they translate that into legal language and output a will ready for printing and signing. The whole process can take anywhere from five minutes to half an hour. If you need other estate planning documents, that adds to the time.
How Much Do Online Will-Makers Cost?
In general, you can use software to produce a will and other estate planning documents for $250 or less. But the way you pay and what you get for your money varies by service.
Some online will-makers charge a flat fee. Others offer subscriptions that let you access and update your will at any time for a monthly charge. Some services offer both: a flat fee for one-time use or a subscription for ongoing changes.
Will-making services that charge a flat fee can cost anywhere from $0 to $400, depending on the service and the documents you need. Subscription-based services typically cost $15 to $40 per month or $90 to $120 per year. Some services charge extra for legal support.
Are Online Wills Enforceable Legal Documents?
A will made using online software is just as legal and binding as one made by an attorney. These services employ lawyers to vet their legal documents and ensure all the language complies with legal requirements.
However, no will is legally binding until it’s signed and executed. Each state has its own laws about what that entails. In most states, you must sign in front of two witnesses who are not beneficiaries and get their signatures as well. In others, you must sign in the presence of a notary public.
In some states, you can sign and witness a will electronically. In others, you must print it out and sign a paper copy. Some states that typically require physical signatures are allowing electronic signatures temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The software should provide instructions about how to validate your will.
Should You DIY Your Will?
An online will-maker can probably meet all your needs if you have a fairly simple estate. That could include a home and cars you own with a partner, bank accounts, and retirement accounts. If you can do your own taxes, you can probably do your own will.
But DIY will-making services may not be able to deal with a large or complex estate. It’s probably better to hire a lawyer if:
- You own a businesses
- You own real estate other than your home
- You hold assets jointly with several different people
- You have physical assets in multiple states
- You’ve had multiple marriages, especially involving children or stepchildren
- You have children with special needs who rely on government benefits
- You want to limit how beneficiaries can use your money
- Your estate could be subject to estate taxes
- Someone might contest your will
Still, an imperfect will is better than no will at all. If you’re currently intestate, a simple will created with DIY software can at least serve as a stopgap in case you die unexpectedly. You can always hire a lawyer to make a more sophisticated one later.
How to Choose the Best Online Will-Maker
The best online will-maker for you depends on your personal situation. If a simple will is all you need, you can choose a free will-maker. These programs can get the job done fast at no cost to you.
For more complex wills, look for a more sophisticated program that includes all the documents you need. These might consist of a living will, power of attorney, or guardianship documents for your kids. And make sure your software can produce a will that’s valid in your state.
Finally, remember that even the best online will-makers don’t cover everything. If your estate needs are especially complex, it’s worth hiring a lawyer who specializes in wills. In these situations, it’s also a good idea to talk to a financial advisor about estate planning.