At some point in your life, you’re going to need legal services. The field of law is just too deep of a subject for most people to teach themselves. Most lawyers have to spend at least six or seven years in college to get to the point where they can even make a good intern.
During that time they read hundreds of books, thousands of pages of law cases, theories, arguments, business, and everything in between. After all of this work, however, they are experts in their field of study, and they are paid to match that level of expertise.
In the old days, if you had legal troubles or you were trying to file for a new business, you would have to dip into your savings account and pay exorbitant amounts to a lawyer so that he could help you fill out some simple paperwork. It was unavoidable. Unless you wanted to read thousands of pages worth of law, then you needed a lawyer.
Today, with the advent of the internet, online legal services have come to save the day. Now an online legal service can’t represent you in a court of law if you’re trying to beat a serious criminal charge, but they can do just about everything else.
One of the most common legal services that people need help with is writing their will. In today’s world writing your will on a piece of paper won’t cut it.
If you want your possessions to go to the right people, then you need to have an official legal document. If you go to a local lawyer, they may charge you thousands of dollars and require multiple meetings.
Online legal services have registered and experienced lawyers on their staff who can provide you with all of the digital paperwork, guide you through filling it out, and then file it with the right entities. Most of the time they are far easier, faster, and most of all cheaper than going to a lawyer’s office in your city.
You don’t have to wait in traffic for hours at a time, walk up flights of stairs, or sit in a dingy office waiting for your turn. If you have a computer and an internet connection, then you can file all of your legal papers from the safety and comfort of your own living room.
However, there are quite a few online legal services on the web who are dishonest. They promise what they can’t deliver or they forget to file your paperwork with the right agencies.
Some offer little to no customer support, and there are a few out there that are complete scams. They will take your money and run to the hills, giving you nothing in return.
If you're using an online legal service for the first time, then it can be quite confusing trying to decide who has the best service.
To help you out, we've made you a list of the top five providers on the web. They all have a reputation for honesty, integrity, and are well-reviewed by members of the legal community. Let's take a look at our online will reviews.
Best Online Will Maker
Although all of these websites offer a wide range of other legal services, today we are going to be focusing on will and trust services. A lot of people are looking for the best will making software, but this isn’t what you need. LegalZoom gives their users a simple, easy-to-use form that you can fill out online.
Will and trust filing are some of the most important and widely used online legal services, and if a company can do this service properly, then it’s usually a good indicator that they will perform well in their other services!
LegalZoom has been leading the online legal service industry for years. They are widely accepted as one of the best companies in the country for people who are trying to get basic legal paperwork filed.
Every year, thousands of people use LegalZoom to file all of their business paperwork, and tens of thousands more use them to file their will. 99.5% of all users leave stellar LegalZoom reviews after their experience.
One of the things that makes LegalZoom one of the best online will makers is that they are upfront about their pricing. If you visit their website and click on the individual services, then you will see a price quoted before you take any action.
Many competing competitors aren't honest about this, and they won't give you the price until after you've spent time filling out all of your paperwork. You have no choice to compare pricing between other companies, which means that you may not be getting the best deal for your money.
Last Will And Testament
If you are a business owner, it is especially important to write a detailed will that describes exactly how your company is going to be divided when you pass away. Even the team that you trust the most can turn into a ravenous pack of hyenas when it comes to splitting up a business. This can destroy your company from the inside out and leave your family with nothing.
Few things are sadder than seeing a company that somebody spent a lifetime building get torn to shreds because the owner didn't write a last will and testament.
Writing a last will and testament is also very important for your family and loved ones. Wills aren’t just for wealthy people who have a mansion and millions of dollars either. When you die, everything that you own becomes an asset.
Your car, your family home, your bank account savings, and even your personal jewelry can all turn into subjects of heated debate and discussion.
If you have minors in your care, you may also want to specify your wishes for who you wish their legal guardian to be. These are all things which you should discuss with your family while you are in the process of writing your will.
Thankfully, LegalZoom will be there every step of the way. Not only will they provide you with the documents, but they will help you with any legal questions that you may have along the way.
Living Will And Power Of Attorney
Your living will states how your possessions are to be divided up if you are still alive, but are unable to make a decision. Although unfortunate, you could suffer a severe injury which could put you in a coma or render you unable to speak or write.
A living will protects against this, and also states how you would like to be taken care of. You will be able to choose your doctor, your hospital, and state how long you would like your family to wait before taking any action.
LegalZoom makes this easier than ever! They will provide you with a few simple online forms that you will be able to fill out in a matter of minutes. After you submit this, you will usually wait for a brief 24-hour period, and then you will have your official documents emailed directly to you.
Runner-Up: Rocket Lawyer
In our opinion, the second best online lawyer service is Rocket Lawyer. While they don’t offer all of the complex extras that LegalZoom is known for, they certainly get the job done. They provide you with all of the digital documents, let you fill out your information, and then return the right documents to you via email.
Unique Pricing Model
Although Rocket Lawyer does allow their users to pay by the document, they offer a unique pricing model for people who may need further services (which everybody does at some point). Rocket Lawyer offers an affordable monthly subscription which will make most of your documents free.
The only papers that aren't included in the Premium Monthly Package are advanced business filings. Even if you do need those services, you will get them at a discount.
While you are writing and drafting a will or living trust, there is bound to be some confusion. You may write your will, and then have a conversation with a loved one that changes your mind about certain details. If you are subscribed to the Rocket Lawyer Premium Monthly Package, then you will easily be able to draft a new copy.
If you look at a lot of competitors, they will charge you extra for each document that you file, which means that you have to get everything right the first time. If you want to change any information, then you will have to file for a new service which can costs hundreds of dollars more.
Even if you don’t think that the Premium Monthly Package is for you, RocketLawyer still offers great pricing on individual documents. Their last will and testament papers start at just around $20, which makes them very affordable for the average person.
It is important to understand that during this process, you may want to write several other documents such as your living trust and power of attorney. If you aren’t signed up for the monthly subscription, then you will have to pay extra for each service.
Alternative: Legal Shield
Legal Shield has been around for over 45 years, and they have recently started to grow their online presence. Their website’s user interface leaves a little bit to be desired, but other than that, the services they offer are supreme. If you’re looking for a cheap and easy place to file your will, then this is it.
Legal Shield started their company with the vision of democratizing legal services. They have certainly been successful, and have inspired many other companies to do the same. One of the reasons why Legal Shield has stayed under the radar over the years is so that they offer very affordable pricing. Most Legal Shield reviews claim this to be true as well.
This means that they aren't able to spend as much money on a large-scale advertising budget, but they can keep their prices low. This is especially helpful for individuals who haven't saved a lot of capital, but who still want to take care of their financial responsibility of making a will.
According to their website, all Legal Shield team members have an average of 22 years of experience. When you're looking for a company that will get your paperwork done right the first time, then experience is key.
LegalShield has an exclusive membership program which is very affordable. Each user chooses an account option that it best for what they need (family, small business, large business). Based on which package you signed up for, you will then have unlimited access to filing the legal papers that you need.
Membership with LegalShield also has quite a few other perks. Since the company has been around for so long, they have built good relationships with other large companies. Members will get discounts and coupons for large stores such as Target and Office Depot, restaurants and hotels like Applebees and Holiday Inn, and even on their Verizon phone bill.
2nd Alternative: LawDepot
Law Depot has been around for over 15 years and has a very simple and easy-to-use website. It will only take you seconds to find the documents that you need. You won't have to spend an hour on their website scrolling around, looking for prices, and trying to figure out how to use it.
Many customers write glowing Law Depot reviews after their experiences which speaks very well for the company.
Multiple Countries Served
If you have dual citizenship, or you find yourself traveling a lot, then LawDepot has you covered. They not only cover the United States, but also Canada, Great Britain, and even Australia.
They also have a few physical offices. Their US office is based in Los Angeles, their Canadian office is based in Alberta, and they British office is based in the middle of London. If you have more serious issues and need the help of a real person, you can easily stop into one of these offices and ask for help.
Like many competing online legal services, LawDepot is subscription-based. However, what makes them unique is that they offer a free trial period for all of their services. This is beneficial for two reasons.
The first reason is that if you need to write a one-time will and you already have your thoughts together, then you can essentially do it for free. The second benefit is that if you are interested in a long-term subscription, then you can easily test it out before you commit to paying.
LawDepot offers all of their users complete access to their personal law library. This is great for people who want to educate themselves a little bit. Whether you are a student and need some free information, or you’re a customer who wants to better understand the legal system, LawDepot has you covered.
They offer estate, family law, business, finance, and real estate articles. By the time you’re done reading all of these, you’ll be an expert yourself!
3rd Alternative: U.S. Legal
U.S. Legal is very simple, and that is their main selling point. It can often be very easy to get confused with all of the various legal packages and papers, and it is common for users to forget to file important documents amongst the myriad of other information.
U.S. Legal offers comprehensive will packages which include all of the documents that you need. This means that you won’t have to sort though and double check to make sure that you have filed every last paper. They are easy to use, affordable, and organized. Perhaps this is why U.S. Legal reviews are so good.
Subscribe Or Pay-By-Package
Although most online legal services try to focus on subscription services, U.S. Legal gives their customers two affordable options. You can either sign up for a membership, which will get you quite a few deals, or you can pay for each package that you file.
Their pay-by-package isn’t exorbitantly priced to force membership either. Both payment options are affordable, and give their customers a good choice.
U.S. Legal hasn’t made a huge effort to push advertising, but among the people who use their services, they are very well-reviewed. Talk show host Dave Ramsey recommends U.S. Legal to all his listeners. They are also accredited by the Better Business Bureau, Verisign trusted, and secure all of their user details with Norton’s trusted system.
Why You Should Choose Your Online Legal Service Carefully
Unfortunately, in today’s age, there are more people than ever who are shady and want to steal your information. As quality online legal services became popular, quite a few dishonest people decided to create sub-par competitors or outright scams.
Many of the so-called legal sites out there are run from foreign countries where US Jurisdiction has no meaning to them. They can promise you the world, take your credit card payment, and then run off with your money. Most of the time, they will face no consequence.
That’s one of the main reasons why we created this guide. We were tired of seeing people who we know get robbed and taken advantage of. You can be sure that all of the companies that we recommended above are honest, based in the USA, and will never keep or sell your personal information.
What To Pay Attention To When Choosing Your Service
Each online legal service is going to be a little bit different than their competitors. Let’s take a look at the features which you should become acquainted with before making your final decision.
The whole reason why you’re using an online lawyer service is to save money on expensive lawyer fees. It’s important to compare the price of the online service with competing companies as well as your local physical law offices to make sure that you’re getting the best deal for your money.
An online service that has only been around for a few short years and that has no background in previous legal work isn’t very trustworthy. If you find a website like this, it could very easily be a scam.
Try to look for companies that are well-reviewed, recommended by professionals, and that are accredited by financial institutions. This is the best way to ensure that your work is going to be good quality and that you'll have honest support.
Quality Of The Documents Provided
This is especially important when you're talking about your legal will or your living trust. You need your documents to be understood by the entire family. If there are any details which are vague or ideas that aren't conveyed in a clear and concise manner, then it can result in fights and arguing. If possible, take a look at a sample of the legal services work before you invest any money.
Filing legal documents can be a tricky process, especially when you’re working on your will. You need to find a will making software or an online legal service that has a good support team behind it. You will most likely have questions, and when asked, you want to receive clear answers and support.
The internet makes it easier than ever to file your personal legal paperwork. You can now write you will from the comfort of your home. No more long discussions with lawyers, expensive fees, and long waits. Thanks to our guide, finding the best online legal service doesn't have to be hard!
LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer are by far the best and most popular companies on the web, but the alternatives that we suggested also provide stellar online lawyer services as well. Writing a will is can be a difficult process for your family, make it easier by using a quality online legal service.