Having a last will and testament as part of your estate plan is important in making sure your desires for your children, pets, property and assets are carried out after your death. Without a will, the courts make these final decisions with unknown outcomes. It can also become a source of contention among those surviving you as they battle against each other in hopes of carrying out what they believe to be your heart's desires.
While you can hire an attorney to create your will for you, most charge a minimum of $50 per hour. This is quite costly, especially if you don't need an overly complicated will. Will-making software is an easy, cost-affordable solution with enough choices out there that you're sure to find one that meets your needs.
We have reviewed many different will software and have found the ten best products, including Quicken WillMaker, Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom. Also, check out our articles on will software to learn more about the process and legal requirements for your particular situation.
When considering will software, you have the option to choose a program that can be downloaded onto your computer or one that you can access online. Both can help you do your own will and, after being signed by the appropriate number of witnesses, is recognized as a legally binding document. Online will software is generally compatible with Mac as well as PCs. Here are additional features we considered while reviewing will software.
Document Creation Tools
The more tools included with the will-creating program the better. Interview formats and step-by-step instructions make it easy to record important information that the program then automatically adds to a legal last will and testament. The best will software includes spellcheck to ensure everything you add is accurate, checklists so you know what information you need to gather before starting your will, and worksheets to keep your assets and beneficiary information in order. Being able to save the final document in a PDF format is important since this is a secure format that can't accidentally be edited after being saved.
A last will and testament is only one of several important documents that should be created while planning your estate. Most of the programs we reviewed have the tools to help you create other legal documents, such as a health care directive, or living will, schedule of assets and power of attorney. Caregiver and survivor instructions are synopses of your will and highlight additional final wishes that may not necessarily be included in a last will and testament. They usually include a notification letter that you can send out to those you've named as executors and caregivers for your children and pets so they are aware they've been given these responsibilities long before your death.
Help & Support
Fortunately, each of the software solutions we reviewed is simple to use and navigate through without needing to read instruction guides or get in touch with support personnel. However, in case you do have any questions or concerns, it's nice to know you can connect with the right help. Most software developers don't have email or telephone support, relying instead to FAQs sections. Some programs come with legal support, either in the form of a legal reference guide or as a lawyer directory that lets you search for a real-life attorney in your area. Social media is also a big deal and a good way to get in touch with live tech support.
Whether you need a simple will or a more detailed last will and testament, will software can save you money while still providing the legal documents you need to bring yourself, and your loved ones, some peace of mind after your passing.