Top 5 Online Estate Planning Services For Seniors
When you’re looking for an estate planning service that can customize your plan exactly how you desire, Rocket Lawyer fits the bill.
Once you go through the site and answer some basic questions, you’ll be given useful documents via templates that can help get you on the right track to drawing up your estate planning documents.
The site works with experienced lawyers to ensure the templates contain everything you need.
You can use these templates along with your lawyer to design just the right will and other necessary documents to get your affairs in order and give you the peace of mind you need.
Rocket Lawyer is user-friendly, and if you don’t have a lawyer of your own, you can also consult with the site’s own lawyers. They can answer any questions you have along the way and provide legal advice.
You’ll have access to creating many types of estate planning documents, including your will, power of attorney, assets, and living wills.
There are many benefits to using this site. It’s completely secure and protected, so you never have to worry about the safety of your private and personal information.
You can consult with lawyers at any time. There are several ways you can contact assistance, whether it’s a phone call or an email.
You’ll get access to your own cloud storage where you can keep everything and not take up space on your own computer, and your documents are always together whe you need them.
Like to know more about estate planning and dig deeper into resources before you make plans? Rocket Lawyer has an extensive law library you can access to gain more knowledge about every aspect of estate planning.
The rates are affordable and flexible depending on what type of membership you’d like and how much help you require as you draft your documents.
Also, since the site offers assistance with a host of other legal issues, you can also use Rocket Lawyer for many other documents and plans that may come up.
Not sure if Rocket Lawyer is for you? This website gives you a seven-day free trial that lets you explore the site yourself and use some of its convenient features before you sign up for a subscription.
Like Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom also lets you fill out some questions to narrow down what your estate planning needs are.
Once you’re done with this, you’ll receive a customized plan. LegalZoom is one of the most well-known sites for many types of law documents, and they handle everything you’ll need for planning your estate, including a living trust, living will, and power of attorney.
You can either bundle all of these documents together and pay one low price, or you have the freedom to pick and choose which documents you need and pay per document, which is a pretty good deal.
They also go into detail about why you need specific documents and what the benefits are of having each type of document, so if you don’t know the difference between a living will and a living trust, for instance, this is all outlined on their site.
You can also speak to one of their lawyers to further answer your questions while you draw up your documents online.
Sign up for LegalZoom’s newsletter to receive advice and suggestions to your inbox. You can also contact the website’s customer service if you’re having issues with troubleshooting the actual site.
Lawyers are available seven days a week, even on weekends during scheduled times to answer your questions.
Once you’re ready to complete your documents and you’ve selected what you need and you’re ready to finish the process, LegalZoom will print out everything you’ve customized and send it to you through the mail.
This way, you’ll be able to take another look at the paper copy of your documents and add you signature.
You can do everything from procure your trust, create your will, and even make plans for the future of your pets on this convenient site.
Highly rated for its ease of use, affordability, and availability of a wide variety of services, LegalZoom is a popular choice if you don’t have the time or money to go through a traditional lawyer to create your trust and you already know exactly what you want to do.
LawDepot has all the documents available that you’ll need to create your estate planning package, especially if you already have some knowledge of the law as well as the documents you’ll need to create.
Use the site’s established templates to customize everything from your will to codicils to medical instructions and much more. This site is praised for its user-friendliness; you don’t need to know a lot of legal jargon to figure out what you want to do.
On LawDepot, you have access to a library of documents at your disposal. There’s also a handy Help Center where you can go if you have questions.
LawDepot is a bit more advanced than other sites; you can’t actually contact a lawyer through LawDepot, but the site gives you the necessary tools you’ll need to hopefully find what you’re looking for among their extensive resources.
Other benefits of LawDepot include a blog about relevant legal topics, affordable, flexible pricing that allows you either a one-year membership for a flat fee or a per-document fee, and the ability to try a free seven-day trial membership to decide if the site is right for you.
There’s a number you can call to ask questions Monday through Friday. It’s an accredited, secure site, so you know your private information will be safe.
Some of the documents you’ll be able to access via LawDepot in order to complete your estate planning include your last will and testament, health care directive, revocable living trust, end-of-life plan, and a release form that allows you to release your medical records to specific parties, among other noteworthy documents.
If you have a year subscription, there’s no limit to how many documents you can draw up. The site also stores your documents for you so they are easy to access and all in one place when you’re ready to print them up.
Do Your Own Will
Need to do your will but you’re worried because it’s not in your budget to pay to draw up documents or discuss your plans for your estate with a lawyer?
No worries. Do Your Own Will has you covered, because you can draw up your will completely free of charge using this site. Now, keep in mind that it may not be recommended for very complicated estate plans, but if you don’t need too many bells and whistles, this might be the right fit for you.
When you head to the website, you won’t even have to grab your credit card or any form of payment. You’ll answer a variety of simple questions pertaining to your estate as well as who you’re leaving your inheritance to.
You’ll also be able to name the executor of your estate as well as make it known if you’re leaving any charitable contributions behind.
Of course, since this is a totally and completely free option that’s fairly basic and stripped-down, you’re not going to have access to lawyers that you can consult with unless you have your own attorney or you’ve already discussed your wishes with a lawyer prior to creating your will.
Next, simply save your will as a Word office document or convert it to a neat PDF form, print it out right from the comfort of your home, sign it, date it, and you’re done.
It’s completely official, 100% legal, and entirely free of charge. The website works to create a will no matter which of the 50 states you’re a resident in.
You can also create a living will and power of attorney documents, also for free.
There’s a sidebar with some basic explanations of what each document means and why you may want to have one signed, just in case you need a refresher.
Highly rated and secure, this is your best bet for a very basic will you can draw up and be done with in less time it takes to walk to your mailbox and back.
NOLO – Quicken Willmaker Plus
Head to legal site NOLO.com to download your own copy of the highly regarded Quicken WillMaker Plus software.
This easy-to-use, comprehensive software package covers everything you need to create your own will and other estate planning documents.
Like some of the other sites, you answer some questions in order to easily fill out the forms you need. This includes everything from your will as well as other documents such as naming executors, healthcare directives, power of attorney, and living trust, etc.
One of the bonuses of using Quicken WillMaker Plus is that you also get access to some of the other benefits of using NOLO, such as added documents that the software itself doesn’t feature.
Some of these include a promissory note-maker and a revocable living trust. This added enhancement makes the software even more useful.
Don’t see the worth in purchasing a software package just to create your will? Fortunately, that’s not all that WillMaker Plus offers.
This software package also features documents that can help you with your personal finances, managing home and other family legal documents, and charitable donation documents. You can even draw up legal documents regarding the care of your pets and arrangements for the care of children and elders.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a Mac computer or you’re running a PC with Windows. There are versions of Quicken WillMaker Plus available for both operating systems.
There are just a couple of downsides, such as the fact that you don’t have easy access to a lawyer via the software. However, there is a reference manual you can use for questions you may have along the way as you draw up your customized documents, and all documents are verified by actual attorneys.
The price of the software is under $100, which is a reasonable fee considering everything you get with this package, and it’s user-friendly and uncomplicated. It’s also simple to update as needed.
What Are Estate Planning Services?
Everyone needs to make a plan for what happens to their estate once they’re gone. It’s not a subject that’s enjoyable, but it’s simply the best way to ensure that your wishes are met should anything happen to you.
Allow yourself to be in control of how you want your assets distributed in accordance with your own personal wishes instead of dividing them by the laws of your state.
This means you can select who’s the executor of your will, who has power of attorney, and important decisions like who can make medical decisions for you.
Estate planning covers a range of topics that vary from what will happen to your home, car, and savings to more personal topics like who will care for your kids should you have underage children if something happens, or pets that will need a place to go.
Estate planning services make it easier and more affordable than paying a lawyer what could amount to thousands of dollars in legal fees, especially if you know exactly what your wishes are and you don’t have a lot of complicated holdings or assets to distribute.
Take charge of your future and your specific wishes, even if that means you would rather be cremated instead of buried, whether you’d like to leave a part of your assets to charities when you’re gone, and a number of other things.
These are things you may not have thought of but everyone should be prepared for to make a sad, difficult time easier for your loved ones to get through.
You’re doing this for them so they won’t have to, and when they know exactly what you want, it gives your loved ones peace of mind knowing they’re doing exactly what you’d planned.
You may think you don’t need an ‘estate’ plan especially if the word ‘estate’ doesn’t fit in with your modest way of life. However, don’t misconstrue the meaning of the phrase ‘estate planning.’
You may be intimidated when it comes to planning your estate because you may think it’s hard, complicated, time-consuming, or costly, but the great thing about doing it online is that it simplifies the entire process and lowers the cost at the same time.
Protect your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out just as you want them to be.
What to Consider When Choosing an Estate Planning Service
Most people are worried about the cost of drawing up legal documents, and that’s a valid concern.
However, most estate planning services you can use online and very affordable and offer different ways you can use the service (one-time, yearly, etc.) in order to make it even more cost-efficient and useful for you.
You may already have a family lawyer you have consulted with about your will and estate. Or, you may know enough through your own research to feel pretty confident about drawing up your own documents.
However, if you feel a little lost, you may want to pick an estate planning service that lets you actually pick up the phone and talk about your plans with a lawyer just for your own peace of mind.
There are several highly rated websites that allow you to consult with lawyers as part of your fee.
Is your will pretty basic? Or do you have a lot of assets to divide up and many directives, such as your kids, pet care, medical paperwork, etc.?
There’s a pretty vast difference in drawing up a basic 10-minute will and a longer, more involved estate plan, so you may want to choose a service that seems right for your specific needs.
Try Before You Buy
Scared to commit? Try a service that gives you a free trial period so you can get on the site, click around, and see if it’s a right fit for your needs as well as your knowledge base.
Edit and Adjust
Do you think you’ll need to make changes to your will or estate plan? Make sure the site you choose makes it simple to tweak your documents without a hassle.
Some sites offer you on-site storage so you don’t have to worry about losing your crucial documents should your own computer crash. This may be a factor when you select a site.
Ease of Use
Don’t consider yourself tech-savvy? Pick an estate planning site that walks you through the service so you don’t get too overwhelmed.
Also, look for a site that avoids a lot of legal jargon and speaks in more plain language you can understand. You want to make sure you’re making the right plans for you; this is important.
Have a small question? Make sure you choose a site that offers an index of questions and answers or gives you access to lots of information that can be useful as you go through the estate planning process.
Which Estate Planning Service Should You Pick?
Simply don’t have the money to pay for a will, but you want to make sure you get your wishes met? Opt for Do Your Own Will, which is completely free.
Want to be a savvy shopper and try before you buy? Both Rocket Lawyer and LawDepot give you seven days to try their site before you register for a membership and pay any money.
Maybe you’d feel better about paying per document since you don’t need very much, but you want the benefit of more legal resources than free sites offer. Give LegalZoom or LawDepot a shot and pay per doc instead of a membership for things you don’t need.
Would you feel comfortable talking to an actual lawyer as you plan your estate? Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom give you access to attorneys who can talk you through the process or answer your questions.
Enjoy researching things for yourself and finding the information you need? Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom, and LawDepot all give you access to multiple resources.
Perhaps you require more than just your everyday will and need a bit more protection. NOLO’s WillMaker Plus is a comprehensive solution to your estate planning needs.
Ensure your docs are safe with the cloud storage offered by Rocket Lawyer and LawDepot.
You don’t need to talk to a lawyer, you just want to draw up your docs and get it done for a low price. LawDepot is easy and no-frills.
Feel like anything legal may as well be Greek to you? Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom are both well-known for being user-friendly, even for seniors who don’t know much about the law at all.
Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning Services
Can I change my will?
Most services will allow you to make changes, but it’s always smart to ask upfront if you’ll be able to make changes, whether or not it will cost you to edit your will, and what steps you’ll need to take to make the changes.
How do I know who to assign my power of attorney to?
Power of attorney must be someone you trust. If you are married, it would be your spouse or perhaps a trusted child, niece, or cousin. A lawyer can also advise you on this.
What does estate mean, exactly? Is it just my house?
No. That’s where some of the confusion lies. Your estate is an umbrella term that encompasses not only your actual residence but all of your assets, personal property, even your jewelry.
What if I move out of state? Is my plan still valid?
Yes, no matter where you are, the documents you have signed and drawn up are absolutely still valid.
I’m nervous about where to put my documents! What should I do with them?
It’s a good idea to have a dedicated place to keep your important documents. You can purchase a steel lockbox, for instance, and let your power of attorney know where to find it.
You could also lock it in a desk drawer or put it in a filing cabinet. It’s wise to make a couple of copies, as well.
Always let those closest to you know where your plans are, so they can easily find them when the need arises in order to carry out your wishes accordingly in the easiest way.