Why Everyone Needs a Will (and Where to Get One)

A will is simply a legal document in which you, the testator, declare who will manage your estate after you die.

There may be large, expensive items in your estate, such as a vacation home, as well as small items, such as photographs, that may hold sentimental value.

In a will, you name a person to manage your estate, this person is called the executor because he or she executes your wishes regarding the management of the estate.

A will can also serve to declare who you wish to become the guardian for any minor children or dependents, and who you want to receive specific items that you own. Someone designated to receive any of your property is called a “beneficiary.”

Some types of property, including certain insurance policies and retirement accounts, generally aren’t covered by wills. You should’ve listed beneficiaries when you took out the policies or opened the accounts.

Check if you can’t remember, and make sure you keep beneficiaries up to date since what you have on file when you die should dictate who receives those assets.

In addition, you should have your own “health care directive,” also known as a living will and a power of attorney. These documents ensure your medical wishes are met in case of an emergency.

You may want to include a statement on final arrangements, such as any wishes for your resting place, memorials, and so on.

Here are three online will-makers to get your plan on the way.

Nolo Quicken Will Maker & Trust

For a one-time fee, you get a customized estate plan, including a will, living trust, health care directive, financial power of attorney, and other essential documents.

An easy-to-use interview format that lets you complete documents at your own pace and you have the ability to continuously update your will.

A user-friendly legal manual answers common questions.

Trust & Will

Trust & Will is an online service that prepares trust, will, and guardianship documents at reasonable rates. Trust & Will walks you through everything you need to do one question at a time.

Once you complete your will or trust documents, they will be reviewed by company experts.

Trust & Will offers you your documents in two ways: you can ship them to your house for free or immediately download them and print at home. Ultimately, this platform is worth the cost for some users for its ease of use.

Rocket Lawyer

Rocket Lawyer provides free templates of wills that can be customized to your situation. The site will guide you through the process, helping you decide what exactly to include in your will.

It also provides information on other legal documents related to estate planning.

Alternatively, with a premium membership, you can create as many legal documents as you want, including an online will, and get a free 30-minute consultation for each new legal matter, among other benefits.

Although Rocket Lawyer’s optional premium membership costs $39.99 a month, you get the first seven days free and can cancel at any time.

There are several other online tools to help you with this process. However, remember you get what you pay for. One recommendation is to talk with a certified financial planner (CFP) to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row.

Many CFPs are quite experienced in handling not only investments but also estate planning.