FreeWill is a company that offers free basic will and other simple estate planning documents online.
In contrast to paid online willmakers like Just In Case Estates, FreeWill does not offer more premium estate planning products like revocable living trusts (except in California), live customer support, or live attorney support. While you can continue to edit your documents on FreeWill after creating them, you can’t collaborate on your estate plan and prepare your team in the same way that you can with Just In Case Estates.
How does FreeWill Make Money?
FreeWill does not charge customers upfront or on a recurring subscription basis. As reported by Forbes, FreeWill instead makes money by selling customer information, insights, and tools to its non-profit partners and their planned giving consultants.
When you make your will on FreeWill and choose to make a donation to a non-profit, FreeWill encourages you to share details of your gift with the non-profit. If you elect to do so, your personal information is passed on as a marketing lead to the non-profit partner and its planned giving consultants, who will likely send you additional marketing and campaign pleas to increase your financial contributions during your lifetime.
Even if you choose not to share details of your gift during the FreeWill questionnaire, by using FreeWill to make your will, you are consenting to the FreeWill Privacy Notice, under which FreeWill can share your personal information to its non-profit partners and their consultants.
In addition to selling your personal information to its non-profit partners, FreeWill has ‘featured charity and non-profit partners’ who pay for priority placement in FreeWill’s questionnaire in order to attract more giving. However, you do not need to donate to FreeWill’s featured non-profit partners or donate to non-profit at all for that matter in order to use FreeWill’s online willmaker.
Finally, FreeWill makes money by charing non-profit partners for access to tools to facilitate gifting and tracking of donors. For example, FreeWill can help non-profit partners create custom, charity-specific landing pages that feed into the FreeWill will creation service with the goal of generating planned gifts and donor information that FreeWill sells back to the non-profit. FreeWill also offers non-profit partners tools to facilitate direct stock gifting, and for certain eligible individuals, gifting through their individual retirement account (IRA).
Is FreeWill really free?
You can create and edit basic estate planning documents on FreeWill without paying anything at checkout. As the adage goes, however, “when you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” FreeWill may share or sell your information to certain non-profit partners whether or not you fully realize it.
Determining how to value the cost of your privacy and personal information is a personal decision.
Is FreeWill bad?
As long as you are aware and comfortable with how your privacy and personal information may be treated, FreeWill is a great product for people with simple estates and family structures who do not need advanced estate planning, or who do not want to create a more robust plan by collaborating with executors, attorneys, and financial advisors directly within the platform.
Since its inception, FreeWill reports helping hundreds of thousands of individuals make their will online and facilitating more than $4 billion in planned gifting to non-profits. Many of these individuals may not otherwise have been able to afford making a will with an attorney. FreeWill is, on net, certainly a good thing.
What is the difference between FreeWill and Just In Case Estates?
FreeWill makes money through contributions by and sales to its non-profit partners, including in some cases the selling of personal information of people who make their estate plan on FreeWill.
Although FreeWill enables individuals to make their plans, its customers are not individual people but rather its non-profit partners, much the same way that Facebook (Meta) customers are not its individual users but rather the advertisers and data aggregators to which it sells its users' personal information.
By contrast, Just In Case Estates exists solely to serve our individual members. We offer our estate plan products at a fair, honest price that helps keep your personal information private and secure. We have a live customer success team to support you in building your perfect last will or revocable living trust documents, and our enhanced platform makes it easy to manage and collaborate on your estate plan.
There's no better way to create your will today than with Just In Case Estates.