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The GYST Review of DIY Digital Wills

Everyone has a unique situation

The experience of creating a will online offers a variety of options. Some services are more complex and sophisticated and some are more straight-forward, but all of them help you feel more satisfied getting it done from the comfort of your own home, office (or who knows maybe even your favorite coffee shop).

Our team at GYST took the time to try three different providers - from those with a good deal of sophistication and complexity to their questionnaires, to self-serve options that offer the basic forms and functionality to get it done. The services we reviewed offer a different pricing model and each offers plenty of options for extras (upgrades). Every service generated a PDF for you to download, and some delighted us with a built in review process. The best news of all is they took less than an hour to complete. All of them offered legally binding documents and each service explains their guarantee of validity, but having an attorney review the final document is recommended.

If you live outside the U.S. or are an expat living in the U.S. please visit the GYST Guide to Online Will Services For Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand.

About Our Review

Conducted in March of 2016, three services were reviewed: Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom and Willing. Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom have both been around for more than a decade and offer many options, security and functionality while Willing is a new entrant in the online document creation field, and offers a friendly interface, and basic functionality. As with all internet sites, each are continually improving their user experience, adding functionality.

 

The GYST Review of DIY Digital Wills
  Rocket Lawyer LegalZoom Willing
Pricing for last will and testament Free for 1 week or $39.95 per month Basic $69 Super basic free, adding in guardians can cost $49
Quality of Legal Will DIY (Basic) Best Good Good

Rocket Lawyer

GYST Rating: Best

Comprehensive, secure, quality support, documents available immediately for download, and low cost if you get it done in a week.

Documents and Costs

Living will, power of attorney, last will and testament and living trust documents are all available for free for one week, after which it will cost you $39.95 per month. One week to get your shit together for free isn’t too much to ask in our opinion. All documents are immediately available for download as PDF’s once you complete the intake questionnaire.

Rocket Lawyer

Last Will and Testament

Very thorough online questionnaire, which will take you a good 30 minutes or more to do it right, but once completed it contains not only all the contact information for the key roles, but also includes setting up a trust for your children and distribution of assets, pet coverage, final remains wishes, digital asset information including account numbers and passwords if you want to record them. It is the most comprehensive of the sites we reviewed.

Security and Safety

Rocket Lawyer will store your documents for a fee with Document Defense, and they do not sell or use your personal data.  The document is in PDF form for you and even if you cancel your free trial you can re-start and edit your document at a later date if you sign back in.  They use SSL and 128 bit data encryption to protect your data with Norton Secured Seal.

Customer Service and Support

Live chat, phone support, and in the questionnaire you can leave a questions for an attorney and they will email you within one business day. Lastly, but important for the DIY type, there is plenty of built in support, detailed answers to questions and extra explanations for terms like assets, definition of trust, or examples of gifts.

Rocket Lawyer Rocket Lawyer

Revisions and Editing

Editing your questions is relatively easy, although you do need to step through all the steps to find the one you want to edit.  Rocket Lawyer allows you to edit your document at any time even if you have cancelled your account, they still keep your sign in and make your documents available.  This could be really useful if you want to update a guardian, contact information or gift details.

Rocket Lawyer

LegalZoom

GYST Rating: Good

Easy to use, very secure, price of $69 for basic will, not does not include extensive contact information or digital account information and you have to wait up to four days for their staff to review the document before it is available for download.

Documents and Cost

Last will and testament $69. Upgrade options: Power of attorney $35, Living Will $39, Pet protection $39 and a comprehensive package that includes all of these plus one year of legal advice (limited) was $149. None of these documents are available immediately for download, LegalZoom staff reviews the documents which can take up to four days, and ours took less than 24 hours. They also provided helpful documentation to go along with the living will.

LegalZoom

Last Will and Testament

Their questionnaire is short and took less than ten minutes to complete. It is simple and straightforward and they provide helpful explanations and collect the basic information. They do collect the names of contacts, but not complete contact information for guardians, executors or trustees, nor do they help you assemble all of your digital information and account numbers like bank accounts, email accounts and passwords.

LegalZoom

Security and Safety

They offer a $50,000 guarantee in case doing your will digitally is ever contested, they have their staff review final documents to make sure they do not contain typos or other issues. They are approved by the Better Business Bureau and have TRUSTe’s stamp of approval for their privacy practices. They use SSL and 128 bit data encryption to protect your data with Norton Secured Seal.

Customer Service and Support

They provide live chat, phone support, helpful tips and information throughout the questionnaire process. When you receive your final documents there are two additional documents with signing instructions, listings for notaries and a ‘Help Guide,’ for your will.

Revisions and Editing

During the questionnaire process it is easy to go edit and save your work in progress. You have thirty days to edit your will for the $69 basic package and if you go with the comprehensive package of $149 per year you have a year to edit the documents.

LegalZoom

Willing

GYST Rating: Good

Feels modern and consumer friendly, the most basic of wills is free, but if you have minor children you will need to pay $49 to include guardians in the document, documents are immediately available for download, but overall the site feel lite and not as robust or secure as the others in this category, but they are the ones to keep an eye on as a start up in this space.

Documents and Cost

Last will and testament very basic is free, then they have upgrade options that include: $49 naming guardians, $99 for guardians, living will and power of attorney or $249 for a revocable trust, guardians, living will and power of attorney. Their pricing program is a bit confusing compared to other sites.

Last Will and Testament

A simple, almost fun questionnaire with big buttons and an overall look and feel that is more modern and friendly than others in the category and you are done in less than 10 minutes. They also do a good job collecting contact information about trustees and executors and even help send off emails to notify them of their role, if you choose. No other service includes this option. They provided some useful information related to funeral planning and estimated costs for those choices.

Willing.com

Security and Safety

They have SSL encryption, but they are still a newer organization and they don’t have some of the privacy and security that the others in this category have like TRUSTe’s or Norton Secured Seal. Their documents are downloaded as PDF’s.

Customer Service and Support

Live chat and phone support are available, however, there were no offers for attorney interaction which can be useful when creating these legal documents. There is no apparent way to search the site for answers to questions, although along the way in the questionnaire there is good support and useful information.

Revisions and Editing

Easy to edit and with the free will package you can edit it whenever you want, there are not restrictions. Once you buy into the package, let’s say the $49 package to include guardianship for minors, there are no restrictions on making changes, likewise for all their other upgrade packages. That is a really nice feature, because having that flexibility to make changes can be costly with all the other packages and over time you might want to change guardians, add assets or change beneficiaries.

Willing.com

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