The COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t have made it any clearer that all adults should have a will because death can strike at any moment with no warning. At the same time, adults are unprepared for such an unforeseen event as many believed the biggest misconception around wills is that it is reserved for those with sizable assets.
Quite the contrary is true as online wills have surged in popularity throughout 2020 and attracted young parents motivated to be responsible at a very attractive cost.
Most of the debate over who reigns supreme in the online will space pits RocketLawyer Vs Legal Zoom and both names enjoy tremendous reputations. This article will take a look at the two giants and briefly discuss other players in the space that potential customers should check out.
An online will, as the name implies, is simply a will that is prepared online. The best online will providers perfected the process so it can be completed within minutes.
Since a will is merely a document that outlines how a recently deceased individual’s possessions are divided up, it can just as easily be replicated over the internet. Online will providers simply present the user with a series of closed-ended questions that can be easily answered.
The will itself, whether it is created online or through an attorney, is not valid unless it satisfies local laws. Some states require a will to be signed in the presence of a witness while other states might require two witnesses.
If an individual passes away without a will, a state court will likely have the sole authority over how assets will be divided up. The consequences of this mean that someone’s estranged relative could end up receiving a lot of money while an individual’s favorite charity won’t see a penny.
According to at least one study, the online will market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 35% from 2020 to 2026. At that time, the market for online wills will reach $41 billion.
RocketLawyer was founded by Charley Moore in 2008. Moore, a law graduate from UC Berkeley, practiced law and offered legal representation to high-tech companies when they were still in their startup phase.
While working with tech startups, Moore realized there is a path to leverage the internet and provide affordable legal services online. He founded RocketLawyer to do exactly that: provide online do-it-yourself legal services and access to documents like online wills.
RocketLawyer’s unique business and growth potential attracted the attention of notable investors, especially Google Ventures that invested $18.5 million into RocketLawyer in 2011.
LegalZoom is a much larger enterprise, although its products and services extend beyond just wills. LegalZoom was founded by Brian Liu and his beginning days as an entrepreneur resembles Moore’s story.
Liu worked in investment banking and specialized in initial public offering and M&A but he wanted to start his own business.
Along with three other entrepreneurs, the group of entrepreneurs looked to capitalize on the idea that the internet can help customers save a lot of money on legal documents, especially wills. Other legal documents that LegalZoom facilities include copyright registration and business formation documents.
LegalZoom surged in popularity over the years and also attracted the interest of major investors, such as Silicon Valley powerhouse Kleiner Perkins.
RocketLawyer’s main selling point is that an online will in 2021 should be completed in three simple steps.
The first step is building the will by answering simple questions that are needed to complete an online will. For example, it asks the name of your children and who will act as a legal guardian, who will inherit property, among others.
The second step consists of saving and downloading the document so it can be printed. The last step varies by region and must be signed according to local laws.
The online will company offers a free seven-day trial to its website and costs $39.99 a month afterward. This includes a 30-minute consultation with an attorney.
Legal Zoom offers consumers the choice of three online wills for a one-time fixed fee. The cheapest is the “Basic” will that costs $89 and offers a step-by-step guide for creating a simple will.
The second option, the “Comprehensive” package, costs $99 and includes legal advice for two weeks and the option to continue paying for legal advice at a cost of $14.99 a month.
Finally, the “Estate Plan Bundle” includes one year of legal advice for $179.
While not necessarily the cheapest, LegalZoom is perhaps the largest of its kind with a valuation of $2 billion. The company couldn’t have grown to become the behemoth it is without offering top-quality services and guaranteeing customers are satisfied with their important purchases.
EForms is relatively new to the online legal space but boasts very high reviews. The company offers a free seven-day trial so it would be possible for users to create a free will so long as they don’t forget to cancel within a week of joining.
The main drawback of eForms is it is not a law firm and doesn’t provide legal advice. For many, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker although lots of people love the option of paying a very small fee to speak with an in-house lawyer and discuss their concerns.
The online will maker offers an easy and straightforward process, including a step-by-step tutorial.
US Legal Forms sells its online wills via monthly subscription packages. There is no option to create an online will for a one-time fee and be done with it. Fortunately, US Legal Forms stands out among its competitors for offering among the best prices in the industry.
The “Basic” package at $8 a month offers unlimited access to tens of thousands of legal forms, including online wills. The pricier “Premium” package costs $15 and offers users an online PDF editor and fillable form builder and the ability to digitally sign documents through signNow.
As the name suggests, Trust & Will specializes in estate planning and three tiers of online wills for a fixed-fee. The basic option is “Guardian” ($39) and meant for parents to dictate who will look after their minor children.
The second option, “Will,” ($89) adds the option to list how someone’s assets will be distributed. Finally, the “Trust” ($399) option caters to those that have needs that extend beyond a simple or basic case.Previous: Online Scams that Are Hard to Spot