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The Best Elder Law Services of 2020

Page Reviewed / Updated - February 07, 2020

Written By: Julia Aas

Hours of research Services reviewed Companies Considered Companies Selected
45+ 50+ 18 10

As seniors age, it’s important to start the estate planning process by creating legal documents like wills and assigning power of attorney. Having these documents in place ensures that you have the final say in what becomes of your belongings and gives you control of your end of life care. Attorneys who specialize in elder law focus on preparing these documents for clients and assist with the estate planning process.

Traditionally, seniors would contact a local lawyer specializing in elder law to draw up these documents, but consulting with a lawyer can be time consuming and expensive. Now, many websites offer legal document creation and consultation at a reduced cost and from the comfort of your own home. Most online elder law services are focused on estate planning, but some websites offer more extensive legal services. While the online services can be extremely helpful, it’s important to be able to differentiate reliable, trustworthy online elder law services from predatory services who may try to scam seniors or otherwise act maliciously.

To help you understand how to analyze and understand the various online elder law companies and services you’ll come across, we’ve created a guide full of comparisons and commonly asked questions. Read on to learn definitions of common elder law terms and view a guide to the best companies and services available and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you’re wondering whether online elder law services are right for you, check out our buyer’s guide to learn more about your options.

Estate Planning Terminology

As with any legal matter, elder law and estate planning services often use specialized terminology that can be confusing for people who aren’t in the industry. In order to understand exactly what each company is offering, it’s important to have a solid understanding of some commonly used terms. These definitions will be useful to you as you begin shopping and comparing services.

Wills

Wills, or your last will & testament, are fairly simple legal documents that detail who will receive your money, possessions, and pets once you pass away. In your will, you’ll also appoint an executor, stipulate how any debts you owe are to be paid, and appoint a guardian for any dependent children you have.

Executor

Your executor is the person you appoint to carry out your will. They will be responsible for distributing your money and possessions, paying off your debts, and filing the necessary documents, among other things.

Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries are the people who receive your money or possessions as directed in the will.

Revocable Living Trusts

Living trusts allow you to stay in control of your assets until you pass away or are incapable of making sound decisions. Then, control of your assets is passed on to your secondary or successor trustee, who is the entity you’ve designated to carry out the terms of your trust.

Advanced Directives

Advanced directives are documents stipulating your end of life wishes or what should happen if you’re no longer capable of communicating or making your own decisions. There are several different forms of advanced directives, including:

  • DNR: A “do not resuscitate” order stipulates that you do not want CPR to be used in an attempt to resuscitate you if your heart stops. You can only create this order with your doctor.
  • Living Will: A living will details your wishes for end of life care including life support and organ donation. However, it doesn’t cover all circumstances.

Power of Attorney: A power of attorney document allows you to appoint a person or people who will make decisions for you when you are incapable of doing so. You can designate a medical power of attorney to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf and a financial power of attorney to handle your financial matters.

How We Chose the Best Online Elder Law Services

The world of online elder law services is large, and no two companies are exactly the same. To choose the best companies, we looked at the following factors.

Company Reputation

Estate planning is an important part of planning the last years of your life, and it’s crucial to use a service you can trust. For this guide, we selected companies that have excellent user reviews confirming that the company offers a valuable product and has a customer service team there to assist you with troubleshooting.

Ease of Use

Legal documents can be confusing, so we only selected sites that are user-friendly and intuitive to navigate. You’ll find that most legal documents on these platforms are generated after you’ve answered a series of straightforward interview questions. These websites also make it clear where to turn if you need further support.

Overall Value

Legal services can be expensive, and online services are no different. Many companies charge high fees and force customers into long-term subscription contracts just to complete a few simple legal documents. In this guide, we featured companies that provide high-value services for the cost, and don’t require long-term contracts.

The 10 Best Online Elder Law Services of 2020

For a quick overview of our findings on the best online elder law services of 2020, take a look at the information in the table below.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Legal Zoom Last will, power of attorney, living trust, pet protection trust Yes, with consultation plan and select bundles Online service -Individual documents start at $39
-Consultation plan starts at $11.99 per month
-Professional printing for $10
-Available estate planning bundles start at $179
Quicken Willmaker & Trust Last will, revocable living trust, power of attorney, healthcare directive Not available Downloadable software One-time fee of $89
Rocket Lawyer Last will, power of attorney, pet trusts, evocation of power of attorney, living wills, digital asset trusts Available with a membership plan Online service - Free 7-day trial -$39.99 per month subscription -$39.99 per document
Willing Last will, living will, power of attorney, transfer on death deed, and living trust Not available Online service Free to create, $69 to print and sign
Law Depot Last will, power of attorney, estate planning, medical records release, revocation of a trust, end of life plans, pour-over wills, and gift deeds Not available Online service -1 week free trial -$33 monthly subscription -$95.88 annual subscription -Individual documents start at $7.50
Legal Shield All documents are personally created by an attorney. Yes Online service $24.95 per month for personal legal services subscription, which includes estate planning, attorney consultation, document review, and more
TotalLegal Last will and testament, living wills, and power of attorney Yes, with membership Online service -$9.99 per month membership -$89.88 annual membership -individual documents start at $14.99
US Legal Wills Last will, health care directive, power of attorney, funeral arrangements, schedule of assets Not available Online service -individual documents start at $39.95 -a mirror product for a spouse or partner will be 40% off the full price
Do Your Own Will Last will, living will, power of attorney, pet guardian trust Not available Online service free
LegalMatch No documents provided on-site; connects you with an attorney who can create any documents you need Matches users with compatible local attorneys Online service Free to use, attorney fees vary on a case-by-case basis
LegalZoom

Most Comprehensive Online Service

Founded in 2001, LegalZoom is regarded as an industry leader in online legal services. With a massive library of legal documents, access to real attorneys, and a simple to use interface, it has made legal services accessible and affordable for everyone, including seniors.

Because LegalZoom offers such a comprehensive program with options for users with varied preferences, it has earned a place on our list. The extensive collection of estate planning documents, intuitive user experience, access to attorneys, and high-value bundles are among the stand out features.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Legal Zoom Last will, power of attorney, living trust, pet protection trust Yes, with consultation plan and select bundles Online service -Individual documents start at $39
-Consultation plan starts at $11.99 per month
-Professional printing for $10
-Available estate planning bundles start at $179

Features

LegalZoom offers an extensive library of documents including last will, power of attorney, living wills, living trusts, and pet protection trusts. In addition to single documents, you’ll have the ability to purchase bundles such as the Estate Planning Bundle, which gives you the ability to purchase all the necessary documents for a one-time fee.

The company offers 30-minute consult calls with attorneys as a standard feature of many different bundles. This allows you to get personalized legal advice on an array of topics and eliminates the need to sort through confusing web pages while searching for important legal advice. These attorneys can help with matters like your estate planning and legal document review, along with any personal legal matters or any family matters you might want to discuss. These consult calls also allow you to discuss taxes and other financial matters through 1-800 Accountant, which is LegalZoom’s partner.

Unfortunately, this 30-minute call only pertains to what LegalZoom defines as “new” legal matters, meaning that you’ll only receive one free call per purchase. So, if you purchase the Estate Planning bundle and use your 30-minute call to discuss it, you can’t call back for more free information. That’s why it’s always a good idea to review everything available to you and go into the call with a set of topics and questions prepared in advance. If you do need more help after that initial session, you can purchase time with an attorney at a discounted rate.

Pricing

With LegalZoom, you only need to pay for what you purchase. While many other companies charge subscription fees, you’ll only be charged a flat, per-document fee with LegalZoom. Pricing for individual documents starts at $39 for a Living Will, $69 for a Will, and $249 for a Living Trust. But one of the biggest benefits LegalZoom offers is its discounted bundles. It’s likely that you’ll need more than one document for your planning, and bundling your purchase allows you to save money by purchasing them all at once.

You can also sign up for a prepaid consultation plan. This plan costs $11.99 per month if you sign up for 6 months or $9.99 per month if you sign up for a year. The plan allows you to schedule unlimited 30-minute consultations with a lawyer, although each consultation must be for a new legal matter. Your subscription will also get you free professional reviews of any legal document up to 10 pages long. If you have a longer document, you’ll pay $39 for a document between 11-15 pages and $99 for documents that are between 16-25 pages long. If you purchase the annual plan, you can also schedule an annual hour-long legal review consultation call at no additional cost.

Quicken Willmaker & Trust

Best Software Option

Created by the industry leader in legal how-to books, Nolo, Quicken Willmaker & Trust is part of a series of DIY legal software that has helped people understand legal documents and processes since 1980. Nolo was founded with the mission to help low-income people get the legal help they needed and has evolved to offer an extensive line of innovative products that make legal planning accessible to all, regardless of one’s financial situation.

While the majority of online elder service options are run on a subscription model, Nolo offers an excellent alternative with its one-time fee software. The Quicken Willmaker & Trust software offers an extensive selection of documents in it’s easy to use interface, and is a great alternative for those who would prefer not to use an online subscription service.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Quicken Willmaker & Trust Last will, revocable living trust, power of attorney, healthcare directive Not available Downloadable software One-time fee of $89

Services

For those looking to avoid the subscription model of online elder law services altogether, Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust offers a comprehensive library of estate planning tools for a one-time fee. You can use this software to create your will, a revocable living trust, power of attorney, living will, a letter to surviving family members, and more.

The document creation process is simple to navigate. Once you’ve made your purchase, you download the software and provide answers to the simple interview questions it asks you. The software then automatically populates your documents with the information you’ve provided.

One distinct benefit of Quicken Willmaker & Trust is that it can be used by multiple people. With many online elder law services, each person needs to create their own account and pay the full price to prepare their own documents - with Quicken, multiple people can create the necessary documents with the same software download for one fee.

While you won’t be able to consult with an attorney through your purchase, real attorneys do review the software every year to ensure that it is up to date and includes all the essential documents. The product website also has an extensive database of attorneys that you can search for by location if you do need to speak with someone about your legal matters.

It’s also important to note that the documents you create with Willmaker & Trust are not valid in Louisiana, United States Territories, or Canada. However, the company offers many state-specific documents on its website that can be purchased if you live in one of these areas.

Pricing

WillMaker & Trust is available for a one time fee of $89. The 2020 version of the software is already available to customers to purchase and is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Rocket Lawyer

Best User Experience

With over a decade of experience providing online legal services, Rocket Lawyer has a mission to make it simple and affordable for all people to draft essential legal documents. The company regularly collaborates with leading innovators in technology to bring the best experience to its customers.

Rocket Lawyer’s dedication to innovation is especially evident in the way its site is designed, making it simple for users to navigate and use even if they aren’t tech savvy. When creating documents, users are also presented with a comprehensive checklist that helps prevent missing steps and leaving out information. The user-friendly website combined with the extensive library of documents earns Rocket Lawyer a spot on our list.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Rocket Lawyer Last will, power of attorney, pet trusts, evocation of power of attorney, living wills, digital asset trusts Available with a membership plan Online service - Free 7-day trial -$39.99 per month subscription -$39.99 per document

Services

Rocket Lawyer provides an extensive selection of estate planning documents, including last will, power of attorney, pet trusts, evocation of power of attorney, living wills, digital asset trusts, affidavit of heirship, and power of attorney for a child. All templates are drawn up by real lawyers.

The website is extremely intuitive and easy to use. You simply search the database for the document you wish to create, answer the questions the site prompts you with, and you only need to answer a series of straightforward questions to have them customized and prepared for you. You can then sign your document online, print it out, or download a PDF copy as many times as you need to. All of these documents are saved on the Rocket Lawyer website, so you can access them at any time. You can also make revisions as needed to any document you create.

As a premium member, you have the ability to get your documents reviewed by a lawyer or to speak with an attorney through the website. Also included in your membership is Document Defense which allows you to speak with an attorney if one of the documents you created with Rocket Lawyer is disputed and you need assistance preparing a response.

Pricing

You’re able to choose whether to pay per project on RocketLawyer or if you’d like to sign up for the premium membership option. While paying per document can be a cost-effective option if you only need one or two documents, it’s important to note that there are additional fees on top of the initial cost. If you choose to pay per document, you’ll be facing a $39.99 fee per new document, $49.99 per question to a lawyer, and $59.99 per 30-minute consult call to a lawyer.

Rocket Lawyer offers new customers a free 7-day trial of its membership service, making it easy for you to try it out and see if it’s a good fit for your needs. The premium membership costs $39.99 per month and you’ll have the option to cancel at any time. It includes unlimited legal documents and a free 30-minute consult call with a lawyer for every new legal matter. If you find that you need more time with a lawyer to discuss a particular matter, you’ll have access to reduced member rates at up to 40% off the original price.

Willing

Best Mobile Option

Founded in 2015, Willing is one of the newer companies on our list. But its young age hasn’t stopped it from making an immediate impact in the online legal services industry. With positive reviews from customers and leading news sites like The New York Times and International Business Times, it’s clear that Willing provides a valuable product for estate planning document preparation. Willing has a sleek, modern website, with clear instructions and easy-to-understand instructions.

In addition to its standard website option, Willing’s document creation tool is fully optimized for mobile devices, allowing users to create their estate planning documents on any device they’re comfortable with. If you don’t own a desktop or laptop computer, or just prefer using your smartphone or tablet to use the web, you might find it difficult to navigate some of the platforms on this list that are created with a traditional web browser in mind. But Willing offers intuitive mobile-friendly document creation, allowing you to take care of your estate planning no matter which device you prefer.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Willing Last will, living will, power of attorney, transfer on death deed, and living trust Not available Online service Free to create, $69 to print and sign

Services

Willing’s mobile-optimized website is incredibly easy to navigate and understand on any device. Willing makes a real effort to avoid extensive legal jargon so that anyone can fully understand the process. The clean design makes the site feel smooth and easy to use as you won’t be overloaded with unnecessary links and prompts that take away from the task at hand.

In addition to creating a last will, you can also use Willing to create a living will, power of attorney, transfer on death deed, and living trust. All of the templates are created by real attorneys and you’ll simply go through a step-by-step checklist to populate the forms. You’re able to create an account, save, and continue editing your document at any time without providing payment information.

Willing does not offer legal support or personalized advice. However, it does offer an extensive library of legal guides and educational articles that can help you navigate the process and find answers to common questions regarding estate planning. All of these articles are totally free to access, even if you haven’t made a purchase with the company yet. Key articles about wills, estate planning, and probate will guide you through the various steps of the process.

Pricing

With Willing, you’re able to create your document for free. You won’t pay until you sign and print your documents, allowing you to test out the process before committing to a paid option. Once you finalize your will, you’ll pay $69 to save and print it. Creating other estate planning documents may come with an extra charge. Once you’ve created your documents, you’ll be able to access them for a full year to make any revisions.

Law Depot

Best Online Resource Library

With a document library created by real lawyers, Law Depot makes it simple for you to create personalized legal documents at an affordable rate. Founded in 2001, the company offers an extensive range of documents including contracts, business documents, and estate planning resources.

Law Depot has also gone above and beyond in providing learning resources. The website is home to an extensive resource library, a valuable feature that can help its users understand an array of legal matters. This dedication to providing clear and comprehensive information has earned the company a spot on our list.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Law Depot Last will, power of attorney, estate planning, medical records release, revocation of a trust, end of life plans, pour-over wills, and gift deeds Not available Online service -1 week free trial -$33 monthly subscription -$95.88 annual subscription -Individual documents start at $7.50

Services

LawDepot offers a variety of estate planning documents, including last will, power of attorney, estate planning, medical records release, revocation of a trust, end of life plans, pour-over wills, and gift deeds.

To use the service, you choose the document you want to create, answer the question prompts, and let the software do the rest of the work. You can then print your document or save it locally. You’ll also be able to access your documents online as long as you have an active membership.

It’s important to note that you can not speak with an actual attorney through LawDepot, although real attorneys created each of the documents on the website. The website also hosts an impressive resource library that can help you find answers to your legal questions written by lawyers. While having access to lawyers is an important feature for some users, the helpful FAQ pages provide extensive advice that can help you navigate basic issues and clear up any common questions you might have.

LawDepot is also regularly recognized for providing outstanding customer service. Whether you have a question about the website or your subscription, the company prides itself on being responsive and friendly in an effort to resolve all concerns as quickly as possible.

Pricing

LawDepot offers a monthly membership that gives you unlimited access to all documents for $33 per month and the ability to cancel at any time. If you choose to pay for an entire year of the Pro membership plan, you’ll be charged $95.88, making this plan more affordable than many of its competitors. This membership begins with a free 7-day trial allowing you to test out the site risk-free. You’ll only have access to the documents you create while your subscription is active, so it’s important to locally save the documents to your own computer or to print them.

You’ll also have the option to purchase individual documents if you prefer to stay away from subscription models. Prices of individual documents range between $7 - $50 depending on the document.

Legal Shield

Most Personalized Service

Legal Shield was founded with the mission to make legal services affordable and accessible to all people regardless of their financial situation. While it initially only offered in-person services, the company has expanded to providing extensive online and over the phone services as well.

Legal Shield stands out because of its ability to connect users with attorneys. Every document you create through the company is prepared by an actual attorney - nothing is automatically generated. This highly personalized service is unparalelled and ensures that you’ll always have access to the services and documents you need without ever needing to fill in the blanks on a pre-created template yourself.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Legal Shield All documents are personally created by an attorney. Yes Online service $24.95 per month for personal legal services subscription, which includes estate planning, attorney consultation, document review, and more

Services

Unlike many of the other companies on our list, Legal Shield doesn’t offer computer-generated legal documents. Instead, the membership services give you access to an attorney who will create your legal documents for you.

When it comes to estate planning, you’ll be able to speak with an attorney who can create any documents you need, including last will, power of attorney, living will, and trust preparation. Because of its membership structure, you’ll also have access to more extensive legal services that go beyond document creation. The team offers personalized advice, trial defense, IRS audit services, legal document reviews, personal consultations, speeding ticket assistance, and letter creation and phone calls on your behalf.

The membership also covers your spouse and dependents for many features of the plan, so they’ll be able to create wills and access personal advice at no extra charge which can save you a considerable amount of money.

You’ll always be able to reach an attorney as a member of Legal Shield. Whenever you call, the company guarantees that a lawyer will reach out to you within eight hours. If you need emergency legal services because of an arrest or injury, you’ll have access to the 24/7 team.

Pricing

Plans with Legal Shield start at $29.95 per month and include estate planning, attorney consultation, document review, and more. If you need a legal service that isn’t covered by your membership you’ll be able to receive a 25% discount on any fees you need to pay. If you wish to cancel your subscription with LegalShield you’ll need to mail or email the company a written notice, which is more complex than other services that allow you to cancel with the click of a button. There is no free trial available for this service.

LegalShield does not offer an option to pay per document, so it’s not the best choice if you’re simply looking to prepare a few essentials.

TotalLegal

Best Membership Value

TotalLegal is is a service of Pro Se Planning, Inc. The founder created the service based on the belief that anyone can create valid legal documents so long as they have access to good advice and tools. The company provides documents for various legal purposes including contracts, business needs, and estate planning.

In addition to its document library, TotalLegal also provides access to attorneys at an affordable monthly rate. Its annual membership costs $89.88, which is among the best value for your money for online elder law services, and can save you a considerable amount of money over some services that require you to pay high prices per document.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
TotalLegal Last will and testament, living wills, and power of attorney Yes, with membership Online service -$9.99 per month membership -$89.88 annual membership -individual documents start at $14.99

Services

TotalLegal offers an array of estate planning documents including last will and testament, living wills, and power of attorney. It gives you the ability to create a will for any state, and you’ll be able to receive and print your documents instantly.

The document creation process is easy to complete. Once you create your account, you’ll answer a series of interview questions about your estate and final wishes. The service will populate the document with your information, and you’ll be able to print the completed document yourself or have it professionally printed and mailed to you. TotalLegal will provide you with step by step instructions for signing your will per your state laws.

If you choose to sign up for the TotalLegal membership legal plan, you’ll gain access to more services and unlimited documents. Members can get free or discounted legal services from attorneys provided by Legal Club of America including consultations, document reviews, will updates, small claims court service, government programs assistance, attorney letters, and attorney phone calls. Additionally, your membership will get you other legal services at a discounted rate. You’ll also have full access to the Storage Vault Service which gives you a secure place to store all of your legal documents.

Pricing

If all you need to create is a basic document like a will, you can begin the creation process for free and pay once you want to download or print the document. Estate planning documents start as low as $14.95 for a living will, and other documents like a last will and power of attorney are only $19.95.

TotalLegal also offers a membership plan that costs $9.99 per month or $89.88 annually. With a membership, you’ll get access to unlimited document creation, document printing, document storage, and attorney services.

US Legal Wills

Best for Foreign Assets

USLegalWills.com is operated by PartingWishes Inc., a company dedicated to providing legal document preparation services to people at an affordable rate. Founded in 2000, the company carries an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and has earned accolades from various news outlets for their easy to use service.

But US Legal Wills really sets itself apart from the competition by offering legal documents for people with foreign assets and for American citizens living abroad who still have assets in the US. Estate planning for anyone with assets overseas can be complicated and not all online services are set up to accommodate these unique needs. The fact that the company has simplified the online estate planning process for people who have more complicated foreign assets earns it a spot on our list.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
US Legal Wills Last will, health care directive, power of attorney, funeral arrangements, schedule of assets Not available Online service -individual documents start at $39.95 -a mirror product for a spouse or partner will be 40% off the full price

Services

US Legal Wills offers an extensive library of estate planning documents including last will, health care directive, power of attorney, funeral arrangements, and a schedule of assets. There are also features that allow you to create documents for your caregivers and executors outlining your requests and to pass on important information.

The software follows an interview-style preparation process where you respond to a series of questions and the program populates your document with your information. You’ll be able to preview your document before you print it, and you’ll be provided with state-specific instructions on how to sign and complete the process.

If part of your estate planning includes managing assets outside of the United States, you’ll likely need to create multiple wills. US Legal Wills provides a variety of services for anyone with assets in the United Kingdom and Canada. There is also a service for expats to create a will for any assets they still have in the United States. US Legal Wills also allows you to create a will for your spouse or domestic partner at a reduced price.

While US Legal Wills does not offer direct legal advice as a part of your document creation, you can pay to have your document reviewed by an attorney.

US Legal Wills also includes a handful of convenient features that not all other services provide. You’ll be able to preview sample wills which can be helpful to get you thinking about the specific things you want to include in your own will. Its editor also includes spellcheck, so you can avoid making typos.

Pricing

With US Legal Wills, customers pay per document. A last will and testament is $39.95. If your partner or spouse also wants to create a document, you can receive 40% off of a mirror document. Once you’ve created a document, it’s stored online and available to edit for one year at no additional cost. Once that year has passed, you can pay $11.95 to extend the storage another year. If you want your document reviewed by an attorney, there is a $69.00 fee.

US Legal Wills also offers a 30-day risk-free trial period. If you aren’t satisfied with the service for any reason, you can get a full refund.

Do Your Own Will

Best Free Solution

Do Your Own Will is a service from Trial Data, Inc. Founded in 1999, the company has a long-running mission of delivering legal services at little to no cost. Holding true to that mission, Do Your Own Will offers a simple and free solution for those with smaller estates that don’t need any superfluous features.

Notably, the company doesn’t charge users to create a will. The entire process is free from start to finish, with no need to provide any payment information at any point, making it truly accessible to everyone regardless of their budget.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
Do Your Own Will Last will, living will, power of attorney, pet guardian trust Not available Online service free

Services

While the company is called Do Your Own Will, it offers several important additional estate planning documents including living will, power of attorney, pet guardian trust, and the ability to assign a digital agent. The site follows a simple interview process where you’ll answer a series of questions about how you want your assets distributed, your marital status, your children, and your executor. After you’ve answered the questions, you’ll be able to save your will as a Word Doc or PDF, download, and sign.

Users do have the ability to save their documents for later access by creating an account. With this feature, you’ll be able to sign in to update any of your previously created documents at any time.

The service does not provide users with any access to attorneys, but it does provide free legal guides and FAQs to assist you in the document preparation process. The site advises you to read through these pages to make the process smoother and easier to understand.

While the free service is excellent for anyone with a simple estate seeking a budget-friendly option, Do Your Own Will isn’t suitable for anyone with a complex estate that might require more detailed documents regarding how assets are to be distributed.

Pricing

Do Your Own Will is totally free for all U.S. residents. It doesn’t collect email addresses or ask for a credit card number at any point in the document creation process. Instead of charging site users, the company collects revenue through on-site advertisements and through affiliate relationships with other companies.

LegalMatch

Best Lawyer Matching Service

Unlike the other providers on our list, LegalMatch doesn’t allow you to create your own legal documents online. Instead, it’s a lawyer matching service that helps you connect with the right attorneys in your region.

Finding a lawyer on your own can be a tedious and stressful endeavor. But LegalMatch has created an easy-to-use service that simplifies the process and helps users find the right attorney for them in whichever area of law they require. This makes it an excellent choice for anyone who has complicated assets for estate planning or other legal matters not addressed by completely-online services.

Estate Planning Documents Access to an Attorney Software or Online Service Pricing Options
LegalMatch No documents provided on-site; connects you with an attorney who can create any documents you need Matches users with compatible local attorneys Online service Free to use, attorney fees vary on a case-by-case basis

Services

To use LegalMatch, you’ll submit your details to the company, specifying what level of experience your ideal attorney has, and LegalMatch will show you an estimate of what the rates will be. The platform then submits your case to local attorneys matching your criteria. Once an attorney in your area expresses interest in taking on your case, you’ll be told their fees. You’ll also be able to see their rating on LegalMatch and see other user’s reviews to help you make your decision.

The company also offers a satisfaction guarantee. If you fall into a dispute with a lawyer you hired through LegalMatch, the company’s customer service department will attempt to resolve the issue. If you can’t come to a resolution, you’ll be referred to voluntary arbitration. If the arbitration is in your favor, but the lawyer refuses to pay, LegalMatch will award you up to $1,000.

While it won’t be the right choice if you’re strictly looking to create your documents on your own, LegalMatch is a great service for anyone who isn’t comfortable creating their own documents online and prefers to have a face-to-face interaction with a lawyer.

Pricing

LegalMatch is free to use. Instead of charging the user, LegalMatch makes money by charging lawyers a monthly fee for their ability to connect with clients through the service. As a result, the attorney fees are on a case-by-case basis. Once a local attorney expresses interest in what you need, you’ll be notified of their fee before you agree to work with them.

Buyer’s Guide

Finding an online provider of elder law services can be an intimidating task. With so many options available it’s difficult to know where to begin your search, or to determine if online services are the right choice for you. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll outline the steps you should take to help you decide if online services are the right option for your situation, and how to select a company that fits your needs.

Step 1: Determine if Online Legal Services are Right for You

While online elder law services make estate planning affordable and accessible, they might not be right for your unique situation. If you have a simple estate, online legal services that prepare your documents by putting your interview answers into a template should cover everything you need. However, if you have a large estate or complicated assets, you should consider consulting directly with a lawyer for the estate planning process. Other situations where you may want to go directly a lawyer include:

  • You have a reason to believe someone will dispute your will
  • You have children who are minors
  • You have a special needs dependent
  • You’re confused about the estate planning process

Step 2: Decide Which Documents You’ll Need to Prepare

In order to pick the best elder law service, it’s important to know exactly what you need. If you know you only need to create a few simple documents, you might find a company that offers a pay-per-document option is best for you. But if you think you might need to spend some time speaking with a lawyer to get personalized advice for your legal matters, it’s best to select a more comprehensive plan. Questions to ask yourself during this step include:

  • Will I create a will or a legal trust? Wills and legal trusts are both documents that stipulate what should be done with your assets once you’ve passed away, but there are a few key differences that you’ll need to keep in mind as you decide which one is better for you. Wills are generally the best option if you have a small and simple estate or dependant minors who will need a guardian if you pass away before they’re of age. Revocable living trusts are more detailed and are usually a better solution for large and complex estates. There are also more complex types of trusts, but they aren’t usually available from online providers.
  • Will I add power of attorney and create a living will? Having a medical and financial power of attorney allows you to appoint trusted individuals to make difficult decisions for you if you become incapable of doing so yourself. Creating a living will will allow you to stipulate exactly what your end of life healthcare wishes are, and give your medical power of attorney clear instructions to follow.

Step 3: Consult With Those Who You Want to Designate as Trustees, Executors, or Agents

When preparing your documents, you’ll need to designate agents, trustees, and executors who you trust to carry through with your final wishes. While you likely already have a good idea of who these people will be, you’ll need to discuss their specific duties with them to ensure that they’re willing and able to complete the job. Have an open conversation and allow them to ask questions or address any concerns they might have.

Step #4: Compare Your Options

Once you know what you need, you can begin comparing your options. Begin by identifying companies that offer the services you desire, and familiarize yourself with their websites and payment options. Once you’ve found one that matches your preferences and needs, you should continue to compare it to a few other services before making your final decision. Monthly subscription services are an excellent choice if you expect to need ongoing support and want to store your documents online. But if you’re only going to create a couple of documents, paying per document might save you money in the long run.

Step #5: Check the Fine Print

Every online provider has its own terms of service and payment structures. Before you make your purchase, make sure you’ve taken the time to read through the terms and conditions. You should have a thorough understanding of what your fees are covering and what the cost will be if you need more assistance - if you’re not sure, contact customer service to have it cleared up. You should also review the cancelation policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the process of making arrangements for what happens to your assets after you pass away. Your estate includes all property owned at death, such as bank accounts, pensions, life insurance, cars, boats, real estate, physical possessions, pets, and debts. In addition to a will, there are many other components of estate planning, including creating a living will to stipulate your wishes regarding end of life care, naming a financial and medical power of attorney, and stipulating your funeral wishes.

Do I need to update my will if I move?

You should review your will and update it after any major life events, including when you move interstate. Many wills remain valid even if you relocate to a new state. But there are some cases where you’ll need to make adjustments, as certain states have unique laws regarding wills and other estate planning documents. You may also want to name new agents or trustees who live in your new state. You’ll also want to review and update your will after getting married, getting divorced, or having children.

What information and documents should I have ready when I start the estate planning process?

Before you begin preparing your estate planning documents, you should:

  • Reflect on what you want to happen to your assets after you pass away
  • Know the names of your agents, trustees, and beneficiaries
  • Decide who will be the guardian of any minor children you have
  • Be prepared to include include information about any disabilities your dependents have
Can my will be contested?

Wills can only be contested during the probate process if there are valid concerns about the will itself or the preparation process. Common reasons for contesting wills include a concern of fraud or forgery, a belief that the will was created under undue influence or duress, or because of inheritance rights.

What if I need elder law services other than estate planning?

Most online elder law services are focused on estate planning. If you have other legal matters to discuss that are related to elder law, you’ll want to consult with a lawyer. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the National Elder Law Foundation both provide databases that allow you to search for local attorneys who specialize in elder law.