If you haven’t created a will – or haven’t updated yours in a while – now is the time with Quicken WillMaker Plus 2016. I was recently given a chance to review this new software from Nolo.com and would recommend it for anyone who needs to make a simple will.
What It Offers
Quicken WillMaker Plus walks you step by step through creating your will and then some. The software also covers health care directives, durable power of attorney, and final arrangements. Plus, it gives you a format for recording all relevant personal information that would be useful for your executor or power of attorney.
The software customizes all the documents for your state. It walks you through each individual step of creating these important documents, and it allows you to customize the results for your needs. For instance, you can add in specific information about potential healthcare situations that might come up. Or you can choose to leave all the decision-making up to the person to whom you give power of attorney.
I was surprised to find that the will allowed for somewhat complex situations. For instance, I was able to name guardians and back-up guardians for my daughter, and I was then able to set up a child trust for her. Instead of assuming that her potential guardians would execute her trust, I was able to set up a separate executor for the trust.
Of course, this software does have its limitations. In a particularly complicated situation, you may need to call on the help of a lawyer. Since the software comes from Nolo, a sort of database of lawyers, you can find a lawyer in your area directly from the software.
Each step of the way, the screen will give you links to Nolo articles on specific issues, so you can be as informed as possible about the choices you’re making. On particularly complex sections that might call for legal advice, you’ll see a button that can help you find a lawyer in your area.
Even if you need to talk with a lawyer about specific sections of your documents, though, WillMaker could save you money. Having at least the bare bones of your will, power of attorney, and living will drafted means less time with an expensive lawyer.
On a more technical level, the Quicken software is only available for Microsoft operating systems. So if you’re on a Mac, you’re out of luck.
How it Works
When you first log in to WillMaker Plus, you’ll see a checklist-style screen:
Simply open individual documents to walk through the process of creating each. The “Helpful Information” tab to the right will tell you what you need to complete the necessary steps for each document. You’ll also find links to Nolo’s Legal Manual.
Once you click open one of the documents, you’ll see a step-by-step checklist. The software won’t let you take the steps out of order, as some steps build upon the steps before them. Once you open up a step, it will ask for specific information:
Some of the steps ask yes or no questions, or give you multiple choices. The way you answer will direct the rest of the questions as you move through the program.
Once you’re finished with each step, the program will allow you to print your documents so that you can store them safely. It will also tell you what’s needed to make the documents legal – whether notarization, witness signatures, or something else. Requirements vary from state to state, so make sure that your state is assigned correctly on all of your documents.
You can also choose to save your documents as PDFs, if you prefer to save them securely in electronic form.
With the will document, you can choose to duplicate it exactly for your spouse, if that is what works best for both of you. The document will duplicate, simply switching yours and your spouse’s names where applicable. You can, of course, choose to edit the duplicated will where necessary. In fact, before this document can be printed, your spouse will need to walk through the entire process, as well.
Because power of attorney and living will documents are more personalized, these cannot be duplicated. To create these other documents for your spouse, simply click the “New Document” button, and choose the appropriate document you wish to create.
Your purchase of WillMaker Plus comes with subscriptions to other online document creation tools, including Nolo’s promissory note, temporary guardianship authorization for a minor, and authorization for a minor’s medical treatment. These can all be helpful documents to have access to, and definitely add value to this software download.
The Bottom Line
At a relatively low cost for an instantly downloadable version, this software is a good deal. Having your will made professionally would cost much more than that, and the software gives you access to creating other important documents.
While you may not be able to make a super complex will with this software, it does go into some detail in areas that count. In the 2016 version, you can even give your financial power of attorney access to your social media and other online accounts.
If you’re dealing with more complicated situations – such as child guardianship in the case of a divorce or separation – you may need to consult with a lawyer from the start. However, if you are single or married with no additional complications, the WillMaker may be just what you need to create a fairly straightforward will.
In cases where family members might contest things like guardianship or inheritance, it’s worth having an attorney look over your completed will to ensure that your wishes will be followed. Again, though, this software could save you significantly, as you’d require less time in the attorney’s office.
If you’re like me and have been putting off creating a will, now is the time. And for just over fifty bucks, you can’t beat this deal. Even if later on you need to call an attorney to create a more complicated document, this one will cover your bases in the meantime.