I’m not going to sugar coat it— estate planning is overwhelming. It’s something I personally put off for much longer than I should have, and I’ve recently realized my 71-year-old mother-in-law did the same. I was initially frustrated because it seemed like something that I should be able to write myself in a Microsoft Word document and call it a day. Instead, we ended up paying north of $2,000 for full estate planning documents.

Convinced there has to be a better way, I set out to review every online will making tool I could find. I reviewed seven free tools— some had a free trial, so I had to remember to cancel after completing my documents— and six paid tools.

I am married with three kids, two dogs, and we own a home. I used this criteria to fill out my wills, but I also looked for questions that would pertain specifically to aging adults. In order to keep the comparisons apples-to-apples, I did not create a trust. I did create a power of attorney, living will, and last wishes (if the options were available).

After completing all 13 wills, I sent them to attorney and estate planning expert, Andy Joyce, of Morrow Poppe Watermeier & Lonowski PC in Lincoln, Nebraska for his expert opinion on overall quality and estate planning questions. I asked Andy to evaluate these wills from the perspective of how well they protect the assets and estates of those ages 50 and up. Here's the breakdown:

Paid vs. Free Tools

Best Free Online Will Making Tools

Best Paid Online Will Making Tools

When Do You Need A Will

In general, everyone over the age of 18 should have a basic last will and testament. A will becomes even more important if you own property or a home, have any investments, or have children or dependents.

Basics Of Online Will Making

The goal of creating a last will and testament is to create instructions for what will happen to your children, assets (home, money, things, digital assets, etc.), and even pets after you pass. If done properly, there should be no questions or confusion over what you intend to have happen. Some of the topics you’ll see addressed in a will include:

  • What happens to your digital assets
  • Your final wishes for funeral, burial and other memorials
  • What happens to any debts you may be owed/owe
  • Who should take care of your pets after you pass
  • Trustees
  • Guardianship for children
  • Charitable donations
  • Asset distribution
  • Bequests or gifts you’d like to make

There are additional documents that are often lumped into the will making process called a living will and medical/financial powers of attorney. We’ll get into the definitions of these terms in the next section, but these documents help you dictate what should happen to you, your body, and your estate if you are not medically able to make decisions.

Before you create your will, you’ll need to think about what you want to happen in the event that you die. Have this information:

  • What digital assets do you have (and what is the login information for those accounts)?
  • Do you want to donate to charities (if so, gather the charity’s EIN and address)?
  • What should happen to your assets (If you have specific items you’d like to give specifically to individuals, make a list)?
  • Who should take care of your pets (do you want to set aside any money to help provide for their care)?
  • Who should take care of your children (have this guardian’s name, DOB, address handy)?
  • Who do you want to take charge of making sure your estate is handled (have their name, DOB and address)?

Definitions Of Common Will Making Terms

Last Will and Testament: A legal document that communicates what a person would like to have happen to their assets and dependents when they die.

Trust: A legal vehicle that allows a third party to hold assets on behalf of the beneficiary or beneficiaries.

Revocable Trust: A trust that offers flexibility to change, revoke (cancel), or alter a will at any time.

Irrevocable Trust: A less flexible trust that cannot be changed, cancelled, or altered after its creation.

Guardian: A person named responsible for any minor children or dependents.

Grantor/Settlor: The person creating the will.

Executor: A person assigned to execute the wishes outlined in the will.

Trustee: A person named to oversee the management of the trust and the assets held therein.

Beneficiary: A person who will receive gifts or assets from the estate via a will or trust.

Bequest: Instructions within a will to designate property or an asset to specified a person/persons/organization.

Heir: Those who will inherit your assets after you pass. The definition varies slightly state-to-state, but in general they are relatives like your spouse, children, and grandchildren.

Probate: This is the process where the courts decide what happens to your estate after you pass. It’s a lengthy process and can take months to years. This is generally what you’re trying to avoid in creating a will.

Living Will: A living will is only valid if you are not able to make decisions on your own accord. It allows for someone you designate to make medical decisions about your end-of-life care (ex. whether you remain on life support or receive pain medication).

Healthcare Power of Attorney: Allows you to designate someone else (your proxy) to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. It is not limited to situations of end-of-life care.

Financial Power of Attorney: Allows you to designate someone else (your proxy) to make financial decisions on your behalf.

My Picks: Top 5 Best Online Will Making Tools

Best Overall: Tomorrow

Easiest And Fastest To Complete: LawDepot

Best User Experience: Trust & Will

Most Comprehensive: Quicken WillMaker & Nolo Trust

Attorney’s Picks: Best Overall Online Will Making Tools

Tomorrow

Total Legal

Review Of All 13 Online Will Making Tools

alt="tomorrow will planning"

Tomorrow

Tomorrow produced the most comprehensive, scalable, and usable will of any tool we reviewed. Attorney Andy Joyce said, “The contents of the will itself are very thorough. This will addressed all of the issues that were not addressed in some of the other documents I read— overall, 10/10.” Additionally, Tomorrow is the only mobile-first will making tool I reviewed. It was incredibly user friendly and even a little fun to complete. Best of all, it’s free!

Cost: Free (though there’s an unlimited version that allows you to sign up your partner and share your documents. It also provides unlimited support for $39.99/year)

Time to Complete: 25 minutes

Overall Score: 20/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 10

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 10

Pros:

  • It's free and very quick to put your will together.
  • It's the only truly mobile-friendly will making software I found.
  • This is a really beautiful, almost game-like interface. It's very user friendly and not intimidating.

Cons:

  • Tomorrow makes money selling life insurance and by partnering with employers, so there is a slight feeling of an upsell.
  • You do have to complete it on a tablet/phone, so a desktop version is not available.
alt="trust & will estate planning"

Trust & Will

Trust & Will is by far the best user experience of any of the online Will Making tools I used. It was so easy to use, the design was very appealing, and it made somewhat overwhelming topics seem a lot more manageable. While it does cost more than some of the other options, the end product is well done and worth the investment.

Cost: $89 for a will ($39 if you just want to name guardians for your children; $399 to create a trust)

Time to Complete: 15 minutes for just the will; 30 minutes total for living will and financial power of attorney

Overall Score: 17/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 10

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 7

Pros:

  • Strong support options with chatbot and lawyers available to answer questions
  • Easy to navigate
  • Beautiful design

Cons:

  • The end result was more boilerplate than other wills we reviewed.
  • You can get charged $12/year if you forget to cancel the recurring subscription.
  • It did feel like I was being upsold to try and buy a trust package a couple times.
alt="willing legal wills tool"

Willing

Cost: $69.99 (can upgrade to homeowner or ultimate care bundle)

Time to Complete: 8 minutes

Overall Score: 17/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 9

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 8

Pros:

  • The medical directive and durable power of attorney were seamlessly integrated.
  • They offer multiple coverage options.
  • The language used broke down complicated topics and made them easy to understand.
  • Willing made it so easy to complete a will.

Cons:

  • The end product was also missing some minor details, including dates of birth and relationships between parties. This may be trivial, but will help clear up any confusion in a final product.
  • The will is missing some key topics, including what happens if a spouse and children die before the person creating the will, but they can mostly be cleaned up after with attorney review.
  • There are multiple packages (including the $299 homeowners bundle). It often felt like I was being upsold during the process.
alt="total legal will and testament tool"

Total Legal Wills

The website might look a little outdated, but don’t be turned away. The end product produced using Total Legal was tied for the best will and supporting documents that our attorney read. Completing the will itself was very quick and the site did a good job of explaining complex issues. Overall, Total Legal was the best paid tool Joyce reviewed.

Cost: $19.95 for each document (last will and testament, power of attorney and living will, though you get a $5 discount on any subsequent documents after completing your will)

Time to Complete: 10 minutes per document (30 minutes in total)

Overall Score: 16/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 6

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 10

Pros:

  • Some of the concepts in the questionnaire were a little confusing.
  • The site itself looks a bit dated.
  • You have to keep paying for additional docs.
  • Clunky interface.

Cons:

  • Went more in-depth than other tools
  • Fast to complete
  • Can update online easily
  • One of the top two final documents Attorney Andy Joyce reviewed— end product was very “clean and ready to go”
alt="us legal wills"

US Legal Wills

US Legal promises you can have a will in under 20 minutes, and I found that to be true. While the interface is a little outdated, it’s full of features that help you navigate the concepts of creating your will very easily. There are several drop down menus within the tool that allow you to expand on complicated topics and help you make the correct decisions in the completion of your document. It was one of the more expensive tools I reviewed, as you have to pay a la carte for your documents, but their quality was worth the price.

Cost: $39.95 for last will and testament; $29.95 for power of attorney; $19.95 for living will; mirror will for spouse is $23.97

Time to Complete: 20 minutes

Overall Score: 14/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 6

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 8

Pros:

  • The platform has common questions and helpful guidance on the left of the screen as you're completing your will.
  • There is a relatively inexpensive option to have a lawyer review your doc.
  • Very thorough discovery process in the tool resulted in a more specific and detailed end result.

Cons:

  • Questions got a lot more detailed than others, which could be overwhelming at times.
  • Not a bundled option; only a la carte paid plan.
  • Outdated interface.
alt="quicken willmaker & trust"

Quicken WillMaker and Nolo Trust

Quicken has the brand and authority that I trust right out the gate. In order to make a will, you actually have to download a software application that will live on your computer. This makes updating easy. The Quicken questionnaire was by far one of the most comprehensive and thorough.

Cost: $99 (though I was able to find discount codes through this Capital One browser extension)

Time to Complete: 45 minutes

Overall Score: 14/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 8

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 6

Pros:

  • Name brand of Quicken behind it
  • Quicken seems like the most legitimate of all the online will making software. It's actually a program that you have to download and it's very detailed.

Cons:

  • There are some issues with terminology that may make it difficult to scale from one state to another; for example, in some states some of the terms Quicken uses, like executor, may not have meaning.
  • Expensive; at $99 it was one of the more expensive options I reviewed.
alt="free will kit"

Free Will

Free Will produced one of the better documents attorney Andy Joyce reviewed, especially in the free category of wills I completed. One note, Free Will gets compensation by referring potential donors to charities, so there's a robust section on charitable giving and a push to make gifts as part of your estate planning process.

Cost: Free

Time to Complete: 25 minutes

Overall Score: 14/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 7

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 7

Pros:

  • It's one of the faster tools to complete.
  • It's easy to use the tool; the user interface is very pleasant.
  • Free!

Cons:

  • When you’ve completed the document, Free Will refers you to Yelp or the American Bar Association to find an attorney to help review. This didn’t feel very supportive.
  • Some parts are complicated, and they don’t have resources on site to help you navigate.
  • Free Will does disclose that they may share your information with charities you name in your estate planning.
alt="law depot free last will and testament"

LawDepot

LawDepot promises a will in just five minutes and manages to deliver on its promise. This was the fastest will I completed and the process was painless. The end result is a little less detailed than some of its competitors, but if you’re looking for a quick-and-easy solution, this is a great option.

Cost: Free with seven day trial. Beyond that, monthly subscription is $7.99/month. There's also a one time $49.95 fee for ten year access.

Time to Complete: Five minutes to complete a will; 20 total when also completing the power of attorney and living will

Overall Score: 13/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 8

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 5

Pros:

  • Free if you cancel after creation
  • One of the fastest wills to complete
  • Loved the navigation bar at the top to help chart my progress
  • Super easy to complete

Cons:

  • They didn't seem to ask as detailed questions (for example, they didn't for ask my kids' DOB), but they did have some concepts in there that weren't covered by other wills (Total failure clause, signing details, etc.).
  • You have to pay for support and get the doc in a PDF, so it's hard to update on your own.
  • You have to remember to cancel if you don't want to get charged.
alt="legalzoom living will"

LegalZoom

LegalZoom has some of the best brand awareness of any of the tools I reviewed and they deliver when it comes to the level of support they offer. After completion, your will is reviewed by an attorney and any issues are flagged before your will is produced. This does mean there’s a waiting period between completion and when you receive your document, but it did help me clear up a small mistake I made in the completion of mine.

Cost: $89 for will; $99 includes attorney assist (renews monthly at $14.99); $179 includes one year of legal planning (renews annually). There are also lots of add-ons including pet protection, professional printing, wills for your spouse, etc.

Time to Complete: 30 minutes

Overall Score: 13/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 6

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 7

Pros:

  • The level of support was A++ when I needed it.
  • You have an extra set of eyes on your documents after they’re completed, as it goes through an automatic review process.
  • This will is designed with multiple jurisdictions in mind. Every state is a little different in the way it defines some of the terms commonly seen in a will, and some of the other tools we reviewed gloss over this fact in their documents. LegalZoom was the most scalable will across all jurisdictions.

Cons:

  • The user interface isn’t the prettiest.
  • You don’t get your will right away.
  • More expensive than some of the other tools I reviewed
alt="do your own will online"

Do Your Own Will

Cost: Free

Time to Complete: 15 minutes

Overall Score: 11/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 8

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 3

Pros:

  • You don’t have to have an account to create your will.
  • They did a nice job explaining complex issues.
  • Super easy and painless to complete.

Cons:

  • The formatting of the end result is a headache.
  • Support isn’t great.
  • If you have more complex financial or legal issues, then you may need more options than this.
  • Joyce stated, “Better documents exist,” and called it “half-hearted.” For example, the end product doesn’t explicitly state the powers and restrictions on the trustee and could cause more harm than good.
alt="eforms create will online"

eForms

While this is a no-frills user experience (and price), the end result is fairly strong. This was one of the better free tools attorney Andy Joyce reviewed.

Cost: Seven day free trial followed by a monthly fee of $39/month, which auto-renews. You can also pay $45 to have unlimited access to this one document.

Time to Complete: 30 minutes

Overall Score: 10/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 3

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 7

Pros:

  • Like the progress bar at the top that allows you to see how much progress you're making.
  • End result was relatively thorough and scalable across multiple jurisdictions.
  • Free!

Cons:

  • You have to sign up for a seven day free trial and you can get charged if you forget to cancel it.
  • Homepage felt complicated and hard to navigate.
alt="fabric free will"

Fabric

While this was one of the most beautiful user experiences of all the will making tools I reviewed, Joyce cautions that the end result may be lacking. He flagged several items it was missing including common definitions, wipeout clauses, relationships, and dates of birth for individuals. This will may be a good starting point if you’re looking to expedite a conversation with an attorney, but it might not give you everything you need out of the gate.

Cost: Free

Time to Complete: 12 min

Overall Score: 10/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 8

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 2

Pros:

  • Does a good job of explaining key terms.
  • Easy to update after-the-fact.
  • Fabric lets you create a will for your spouse for free (most other services charge for this).
  • One of the fastest/easiest to complete.
  • This is a great user experience.

Cons:

  • Doesn't reference the relationship of individuals to the testator or dates of birth for individuals.
  • No wipeout clause if everyone is gone.
  • No definitions of any of the terms, so it would be hard to scale.
  • Doesn't have some of the other docs that come standard in other platforms.
  • It felt kind of like I was being sold a lot— they're incentivized by selling life insurance.
alt="rocket lawyer will"

Rocket Lawyer

RocketLawyer’s will making process took longer than many of the tools I reviewed, as it got into very detailed questions about my estate planning. Attorney Andy Joyce found the end product to be average and missing several key concepts and details, including dates of birth for dependents.

Cost: Free trial for seven days or $5 trial for seven days (which includes legal support). After the trial it's $39.99/month. You can also opt to just get lifetime access to the document you want for $39.99.

Time to Complete: 35 minutes

Overall Score: 9/20

User Friendliness Rating (1-10): 4

Attorney’s Will Quality Rating (1-10): 5

Pros:

  • Rocket Lawyer felt more thorough than some of the other tools I used. They were the only provider to touch on the concept of order of death.
  • There was also an easy way to ask for help and clarification via their support functionality. You just add your questions to a document and submit. They review with a lawyer and respond within one business day.

Cons:

  • There were also more complicated questions that even I had some confusion about, and they didn't do a great job explaining (ex. the concept of heirs at law). I felt like it got much more into the nitty-gritty, which meant it took a little longer.
  • The interface isn't super user friendly; it feels outdated compared to some of the other tools I used.
  • You don't get the power of attorney or medical docs included.

What To Do After You’ve Created Your Will

After your will is completed you should consider having an attorney review your final documents.

“The creation of a will is a very small component of estate planning,” said Nebraska-based attorney Andy Joyce— “If you just need to say, ‘give my stuff to John and have him watch my kids,’ then these online wills are fine on their own. But if you're wanting more control over who gets your assets, when they get them, estate tax considerations, gifting strategies and coordinating beneficiary designations, these tools won't help with that. Nor will these tools guarantee that you avoid probate, which is what a lot of people are looking for these days. These wills are a good place to start and can save you some money in the estate planning process, but it’s a good idea to have an attorney review them and make sure they’re accomplishing what you want to accomplish.”

After an attorney has reviewed everything, you’ll need to execute your will with at least two witnesses (and ideally a notary), make copies, and store it all in a safe place. It’s a good idea to share it with anyone named in the will as an executor, guardian, or trustee.

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