Online Will Preparation

By Jeffry Olson, J.D.

Online Will Preparation

By Jeffry Olson, J.D.

Anyone who owns property should have an estate plan. A will is a simple and basic form of estate planning that provides distribution of your assets upon your death. It also appoints the person responsible for overseeing distribution of those assets. If you have minor children, your will establishes guardians for your children upon your death.

Man in black and white striped shirt staring into laptop screen with hand on chin

Previously, if someone wanted a will, they needed to hire a lawyer. Today, the internet offers plenty of resources, allowing anyone to easily draft a will online.

Conduct an Internet Search

You can create a will by yourself using online search tools. First, use the internet to research your state's requirements. Each state has its own requirements that must be met. Next, search online for an example of a will that meets your personal needs. For example, find a will where the party has the same marital status, the same number of children, and a similar distribution of assets upon death. Remember, the distribution of assets is not limited to individuals, but may also include charitable organizations. Be careful to include your state's requirements when using the language of the example to draft your own. Often, it is helpful to combine the best elements from multiple wills you find online. After you have prepared your will, execute it in the manner required by state law.

With an abundance of information just one click away, conducting an internet search to create a will is a fast and free option. Be aware, though, that professional guidance may be limited.

Find the Forms Online

Form websites provide wills to be completed online. When you find a form website you like, look for a will that's applicable to your state and one that most closely meets your needs. For example, a will for a divorced individual with one child. After finding the appropriate form, complete it online and print it out. As always, execute your will in the manner required by state law.

These forms are frequently free of charge. Depending on who created the will form, this process provides a limited level of professional guidance.

Hire an Online Preparation Service

A wide variety of will preparation services exist online. An online will preparation service first asks you a series of questions. These include basic personal information about you and your beneficiaries. The questions are designed to allow a reader of the will to identify you and your beneficiaries. Also, be prepared to provide detailed information regarding your assets. After you provide the necessary information, the website prepares your will. Depending on the level of service, an attorney may also review your will.

These services make your will available to you for immediate download or via email if reviewed by an attorney.

The fee for this type of online will varies, depending on the level of service provided. Similarly, the level of professional guidance varies, although it does provide more professional guidance than other methods of online will drafting.

Drafting a will no longer requires a lawyer. The internet provides many tools for you to draft your own. Whether you use the internet for research while drafting your own will, use a fill-in-the-blank approach, or use a full-service online provider, online will preparation is an available option.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.