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Our guide to online estate plan providers

By Kristin Hoppe

January 5, 2022


Estate planning is one of those tasks that's easy to put off, but that has a huge impact on your family and your loved ones. According to AARP, 78% of millennials and 64% of Gen Xers don’t have a will in place.

Dying without an estate plan can set off a stressful and expensive chain of events for your surviving family members. Now with more online services available and a range of options, it's easier to plan your estate through online templates and services from the comfort of your own home. 

Before reviewing online estate planning options that might be a good fit, it’s important to understand which questions you should ask or research.

Because estate planning documents vary widely depending on your state, individual needs, and goals, many families have more complex estates that require professional legal and financial representation. It's always recommended to seek out professional advice should you have any questions, concerns or complicating factors.

What is estate planning?

In simple terms, estate planning (sometimes also known as legacy planning or end-of-life planning) is a set of legal documents that explain how to distribute and manage your assets after you’re gone. This can also include end-of-life medical decisions and establishing guardianship.

Every adult should have an estate plan — even if you’re younger, don't have much money, or don’t own property. Legacy planning makes life easier for any family members you leave behind. A proper estate plan softens disagreements between family members by making your wishes and instructions clear, easy to execute, and legally binding. 

An estate plan may include but is not limited to:


Psst…We also have a free introductory guide to estate planning.

What are the best online estate plan providers?

Estate plans and the documents included are not one-size-fits-all. Quality estate planning largely depends on the state you live in, your family’s situation, needs, and goals. Much like tax preparation, you can decide to hire a professional, do-it-yourself, or something in between. Online estate plan services often provide a flexible hybrid between these options that can be more affordable than traditional legacy planning.

Here are some of our top reviewed options:

The great free option

FreeWill 

Pricing options:

  • Free

Provides help with:

  • Will and trust

  • Advance health care directive

  • Financial power of attorney

Pros:

  • Specialize in charitable giving

  • FreeWill keeps your data private and has an encrypted platform

Cons:

  • You may need more comprehensive help or professional guidance

FreeWill makes it easy to fill out your last will and testament in only 20 minutes. The company's product is free of charge due to support from nonprofit organizations. To help fund this, some will makers may leave a portion of their estate to charities.

Unlike some of the paid options, you can also make alterations to your will whenever you'd like with no expiration date. Their advance healthcare directive documents and durable financial power of attorney documents are also free to use.

If you're looking for more comprehensive help, taking prepared documents to an attorney will still save you time and money overall.

The great lower-cost option

Rocket Lawyer

Pricing options:

  • Pay per document

  • $39.99 premium plan

Provides help with:

  • Wills

  • Trusts

  • Medical power of attorney

  • Guardianship

  • Business documentation

Pros:

  • Simple and straightforward

  • Free 7-day trial

Cons: 

  • May be too templated for specific needs

This platform gives you the benefit of creating a last will and testament through an easy template, with options to message a lawyer with specific questions for an additional fee. You can securely sign your documents on mobile, and it's easy to invite others to sign it as well.

Not dissimilar to services like TurboTax, Rocket Lawyer also provides added protection with Document Defense®. Customers who decide to purchase the premium plan have access to an on-call attorney should there be a dispute with your will.

Because you're charged per question, this is probably the most affordable option if you don’t plan to ask for much clarification. Otherwise, a higher-cost option with unlimited questions for a year could be the better fit. Rocket Lawyer offers a free trial for 7-day cancellation.

The great comprehensive option

LegalZoom

Pricing options:

  • $39-$599

Provides help with:

  • Revocable living trust

  • Schedule of assets

  • Last will and testament

  • HIPAA authorization

  • Living will

  • Power of attorney

Pros:

  • A modern, advanced platform

  • Highly secure and easy to use

Cons: 

  • More costly than some options

Trust & Will's a la carte options make it easy to pick smaller plans at a lower price point (such as nominating guardians or creating a will) or full-blown legacy plans with all the bells and whistles.

Their comprehensive trust-based estate plan comes in at $399 for one person or $499 for couples. These plans include state specific planning documents, complementary first-time shipping, and one year of unlimited update service.

If you wish to continue to update your documents after the first year, you'll need to pay $39 each year thereafter. You can also get support from a licensed estate planning attorney, but you’ll need to pay $200 a year to supplement your subscription. Trust & Will have a 30-day money back guarantee.

The great mix-and-match option

Trust & Will

Pricing options:

  • $179-$329 for one person

  • $279-$379 for two people

Provides help with:

  • Last will and testament OR living trust

  • Power of attorney (POA)

  • Living will (advance healthcare directive)

Pros: 

  • Unlimited updates and revisions to documents

  • A hybrid approach of templates and professional help

Cons:

  • Packages may not fit your specific needs

LegalZoom is a great option if you’d like a little more guidance bundled into different packages. This company provides pricing based on one to two people. Each package comes with a consultation to talk about your wishes and counsel throughout the process. In addition to the documents listed above, LegalZoom also allows you to make unlimited updates and revisions to your documents as often as you need at no additional cost.

They also provide one year of legal questions related to your estate planning at $119.88 annually. This makes it easy to get clarification from their network of attorneys. LegalZoom will issue a refund from 60 days of purchase date if you're not happy with the product.

A mobile-friendly option

Pricing options:

  • $0-$99

Provides help with:

  • Will and trust

  • Advance health care directive

  • Power of attorney

Pros:

  • Mobile app is easy to use, built for simple estate planning needs

  • Offers a variety of document creation options for free

Cons:

  • Bad for people who prefer to work on desktop computers

Tomorrow has a mobile-friendly app that makes it easy to input information and create a legal will. Upon downloading the app, you’ll provide your ZIP code before even getting started. This helps direct you to corresponding legal documents for the correct state.

Tomorrow also offers guidance and options around life insurance, trusts, power of attorney, medical consent, healthcare directives, and even keeping track of your valuables and financial assets.

While it's free to start a legal will, creating a premium trust costs $99. The life insurance search feature also makes it simple to choose a life insurance plan that could be the right fit for you.

Summary

Online estate planning options make estate planning more accessible and straightforward than it's been in the past — but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. 

You may need professional guidance in particular if you…

  • Own a vacation home or other property in a state other than that of your primary residence

  • Aren’t legally married to your partner

  • Have divorce or custody agreements in place

  • Have remarried or have blended families — especially those with children

  • Strongly prefer that someone does (or doesn’t) get access to you at the hospital

  • Are concerned about federal estate and gift taxes

Whether you decide to complete these documents online or in-person, make sure you do your research and ask a professional if you have any questions or concerns.

Trustworthy Can Help

Trustworthy is the Family Operating System®, with everything you need to keep your family organized and prepared in one place. We offer an advanced level of organization and planning for both everyday and long-term family information. 

Completing your estate documents is critical – making sure someone can locate and access them when needed is just as important. Our concierge service also makes it easy to find an in-person estate lawyer if that’s what you’re looking for. Sign up for a free two-week trial here.

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