Making your will online is easy and affordable, and you don’t need an attorney to do it. You’ll save big compared to the cost of attorney-prepared wills and you can typically complete your documents in as little as 10 minutes – all from the comfort of your home or on-the-go.
The Internet is flooded with free online will makers, but many of these may be problematic for any of several reasons:
- Free will makers often use a generic form that does not comply with your state's specific requirements
- Free will makers may not provide all the essential elements of a last will package –– minimally, a last will, an advance health care directive, and a durable financial power of attorney
- Free will makers often make money in different ways, including by selling your personal information
By stepping up to a premium, paid online will maker, you can pay as little as one tenth the cost of a traditional attorney-prepared will and gain a lot more compared to the free options.
Here, we compare four paid online will makers, Just In Case Estates, Legal Zoom, Trust & Will, and Nolo to help you determine which paid online will maker is best for you.
Comparison of Paid Online Willmakers at a Glance
|Just In Case Estates||LegalZoom||Trust&Will||Nolo|
|Will package1 price (individuals)||$88||$179||$159||$129|
|Will package1 price (couples)||$148||$279||$259||$129|
Free for Life
$19 p.a. thereafter
$120 p.a. thereafter2
No subscription available3
|Conversational, step-by-step document builder||✔||X||✔||X|
|Extensive legal resource library||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Refund policy||45 days||Reviewed on case by case basis||30 days||Reviewed on case by case basis|
|Live attorney support||X||✔||+$200 add-on||X|
1Will package defined as a bundle that includes a last will, advance health care directive, and durable financial power of attorney
2LegalZoom annual subscription includes ability to make unlimited updates as well as another year of attorney support
3Nolo does not offer a subscription plan. By purchasing the 2022 Quicken Will Maker & Trust, you purchase that year's edition of the product with unlimited future use. To upgrade to the latest year edition, you will need to purchase a new plan
Just In Case Estates
We are, of course, biased, but Just In Case Estates delivers the best value in estate planning. With a complete will package for individuals priced at $88, it’s the most affordable platform while also delivering all the same features (and then some) compared to the other paid players.
Just In Case Estates' conversational step-by-step document builder makes creating your will easy. Along the way, you’ll find helpful tips to avoid common mistakes of will drafting, and our Just In Case Estates Customer Success team is available to provide extra help via live chat, phone, text, and email if you need it.
Moreover, Just In Case Estates is the only estate planning provider that offers a free pet estate plan, which you can complete as part of a 'human' estate plan package like a last will or revocable living trust, or on a standalone basis.
Just In Case Estates does not currently offer an option for live attorney support like Legal Zoom. If you want to review your documents 1:1 with a licensed attorney, you might consider choosing LegalZoom or engaging an 'offline' estate planning specialist instead. Most people, however, find that they don't need an attorney to create their estate plan. And since you can get started creating your plan with Just In Case Estates for free and finish in as little as 10 minutes, there's no reason not to give it a go before you break the bank on an attorney.
Perhaps the oldest and most recognizable name in online estate planning is LegalZoom (NASDAQ:LZ).
Founded in 2001, LegalZoom started with a core estate planning module and has since expanded to focus on a broad range of small- and medium-size business needs including LLC formations, intellectual property, registered agent services, and more. It remains the largest paid player in the online estate planning category by volume with more than 3.5 million estate plans created since inception, according to company filings.
LegalZoom’s documents meet state-specific requirements, but the company doesn’t always use state-recommended forms. LegalZoom’s New York Power of Attorney, for instance, is a more general, national template rather than the New York Statutory form most New York estate planning attorneys recommend using.
As LegalZoom has shifted its focus on expanding its small- and medium-size business solutions, its estate plan document builder seems to have been left largely untouched. Although the software still works, you may find the plain, mid-2000s interface for the estate plan document builder to be a bit dull and unengaging.
The biggest differentiator for LegalZoom relative to other online paid willmakers is LegalZoom's attorney support network. LegalZoom is the only online willmaker offering attorney support in all 50 states. Customers purchasing LegalZoom's estate planning bundle can meet with an attorney licensed in their state to review their documents and ask questions on a limited basis throughout the year's subscription.
LegalZoom's attorney network and products is not a great fit if you're looking to implement advanced estate and tax planning techniques, but they are more than capable of answering basic legal questions about creating your last will or revocable living trust.
Trust & Will
Trust & Will launched in 2017 and is one of the more popular new startups in the estate planning space.
Like Just In Case Estates, Trust and Will has a modern conversational document builder that makes creating your will more engaging compared to what can seem like a chore making your will with LegalZoom or Nolo. Trust & Will boasts a high customer satisfaction rate and has secured a number of impressive partnerships, including with AARP.
As of 2022, Trust & Will offers attorney support in a handful of states for an extra $200. The company reports plans to increase attorney support state coverage over time.
The largest drawback to Trust & Will is price. Pricing for an individual will plan on Trust & Will is 80%+ higher than Just In Case Estates, 23% higher than Nolo, and about on par with LegalZoom's $164 bundle without attorney support (100%+ higher than LegalZoom if comparing plans with attorney support).
Nolo Quicken WillMaker
Unlike the cloud-based web apps from Just In Case Estates, LegalZoom, and Trust & Will, Nolo is a desktop application. This makes Nolo a less desirable solution for those who like the convenience of being able to create or update their estate plan on the go. Additionally, the experience of creating your will with Nolo (see this third-party tutorial, for example) feels more like completing a form at the doctor’s office than the more conversational approach of Just In Case Estates and Trust & Will.
If you are on the fence between creating a last will and a revocable living trust and aren't fazed by the limitations of a desktop application, Nolo may be a solid choice. The Quicken WillMaker comes with a revocable living trust module at no extra cost, which yields significant savings compared to more costly revocable living trust offerings at LegalZoom and Trust & Will.
You can make a state-specific, legally valid will by choosing any one of Just In Case Estates, LegalZoom, Trust & Will, or Nolo. However, most people will find the cloud-based solutions of Just In Case Estates, LegalZoom, and Trust & Will more convenient than Nolo’s desktop application, and the conversational document builders of Just In Case Estates and Trust & Will are perhaps the most engaging experiences.
When it comes to value, Just In Case Estates is the clear winner, delivering all the same benefits (and then some) at a fraction of the price.