More Americans Are Choosing Online Will Makers Over Lawyers

Over the course of the past twenty years, Americans have begun to rely on online businesses more than ever. We buy groceries online, take courses online, and even see health professionals online. This has only been accelerated in 2020.

 

But did you know that, today, many Americans now go online to write a will – otherwise known as a last will and testament? What was once the domain of lawyers can now be done with free or affordable online software.

 

Making a will is an important but somber duty for anyone who wants their assets distributed according to their wishes when they die. Included in the document are who you want your assets to go to, the name of the guardian of your children, and the executor of the will. The executor is the person who will carry out your wishes as contained in the document.

 

When a person does not leave a will, or leaves confusing and incomplete information, conflicts often arise among the person’s loved ones. In some cases, the money may go to someone who is an estranged heir rather than an intended recipient. In other cases, someone who takes on the role of executor may have ulterior motives and not carry out the person’s wishes.

 

It makes sense that such an important document is usually written up by lawyers for a fee of between $1,000 to $1,500. Is it really possible to leave this task to online software?

 

Let’s take a look at how online will making software works and whether it is a good alternative to an actual lawyer.

 

How do online will makers work?

 

Online will makers provide you with a survey that asks all the relevant questions. It asks what assets you will be leaving behind, who you want them to go to, who you want to execute the will, and more. It uses jargon-free language and comprehensive instructions to ensure you give the clearest answers possible.

 

Once you have answered these questions, the online will making software interpolates them into a legal document, using all the necessary legalese.

 

Are online will makers cheaper and more accessible than lawyers?

 

Using online will making software to draft a will is a quick and easy process that should take no longer than an hour. Since you are not taking up a lawyer’s time, you do not have to pay exorbitant rates for essentially filling in a template. Some online will makers even offer free services.

 

Because wills are legal documents, we tend to consider them complex and intricate. However, a will can be any instructions written and signed on any medium. The jargon serves to ensure every direction is specific enough that it cannot be misinterpreted, whether accidentally or on purpose. But this language can be easily programmed into and reproduced by an algorithm.

 

Certain online will makers offer the service of a legal expert to proofread the document for you. This kind of service increases the price, but it is still significantly cheaper than hiring a lawyer.

 

How popular are the top 5 online will makers today?

 

Determining just how popular online will makers are today is tricky. After all, over 50% of Americans do not have wills at all, and we cannot look at numbers in the context of the whole adult population.

 

Furthermore, COVID-19 has triggered a rush to write wills in 2020. Considering the particular circumstances of these times, including social distancing regulations, online will making has seen a huge increase in popularity. This trend will likely last beyond 2020, as more people realize that they don’t have to pay exorbitant legal fees.

 

The top 5 online will makers, according to onlinewillmakers.com, are popular for different reasons.

 

  1. Everyone seems to agree that Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker is ahead of the competitors. They offer downloadable software for less than $100. You can use this software to make multiple wills and have more control over the final document.
  2. US Legal Wills is somewhat cheaper. While their software is entirely online, they offer great support and customizability.
  3. Trust & Will is making a name for itself as one of the newer online willmakers. They provide an easy user interface and great customer service.
  4. Total Legal is a good choice for people who would rather pay on a month-to-month basis, rather than choosing to buy a package that offers revisions for a full year. While this does not save you all that much in the long run, it is useful if you’re still undecided about the worth of online will makers.
  5. Legal Zoom, a relatively big corporation, is well trusted. You can rely on them to provide an excellent service, although they do not offer as many benefits as the other options on this list.

 

Not all of these companies offer clear information on just how many people are using their software, but they seem to get tens of thousands of users every year.

 

Can other legal documents be created online?

 

As we’ve mentioned, a will can be any written document signed in front of witnesses. This is part of the reason online will making is possible. However, this reality is not limited to wills.

 

Many legal documents do not require any legal expertise. They simply need to be signed in front of witnesses and filed safely. For this reason, you can get online services that will create rental agreements, loan agreements, prenuptial agreements, and much more. Some of these services simply provide templates that you can fill in yourself.

 

Most Americans cannot afford exorbitant legal fees, yet still need to create important legal documents. With online services and templates now affordable and easily accessible, more people can cover themselves legally, in life and death.

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