Understanding the LawDepot rating
LawDepot is the largest company offering online Will services in Canada.
They have also been offering their services for over two decades now.
The website itself has not been updated much over the years, and the step by step approach is in need of a design refresh, but the service is solid.
What we like
We are impressed by LawDepot's longevity, and the company regularly appears on Canada's fastest growing companies list.
They offer the service not only in Canada, but also in the US, UK and Australia.
They have a huge selection of legal forms beyond estate planning, and so if you did need things like a cohabitation agreement,
you can find everything that you need in one place.
The Will service itself is quite comprehensive and covers all Canadian Provinces and Territories.
What needs work
The pricing at LawDepot needs more transparency.
It is the only online Will service provider that automatically applies charges to the customer on a recurring basis.
As a result, it is the only service provider with very mixed reviews – some would say, negative reviews.
If you are not careful, you could find monthly $39 charges appearing on your credit card statement,
which is particularly jarring because they are the only service provider advertising their services as completely FREE.
In addition, the broadness of their product portfolio makes customer support challenging,
and it is difficult to receive useful, timely responses from their customer support team.
However, they do offer phone, email and live chat support.
Writing a Will at LawDepot.ca
One of the strongest elements of the LawDepot service is the ability to see your Will as you prepare it.
This is a great, unique feature that no other service provider offers.
The service is simply laid out but needs a design refresh, as it hasn't really changed in look-and-feel for about a decade.
The navigation through the service is simple and broken down into five key steps.
But we found that the service lacked options.
For example, when we told the system that we were married and that we had children,
it didn't offer us obvious options for distributing the estate
(e.g. leave everything to my spouse, and if my spouse does not survive me, leave everything to my children).
In a sense, it is not much different to a blank Will form, but laid out into sections.
This also means that more intricate plans are difficult to create using this software.
For example, if I want to share my estate between my two children, such that if one child doesn't survive me then their share goes to their children,
but if the other child doesn't survive me, then their share is divided between my siblings – this kind of distribution plan is not possible using this tool.
In general, we had confidence with the final document, but we just wish there were more detailed options available to us.
Pricing and Packages at LawDepot.ca
This is the most contentious part of the LawDepot service offering. The services are advertised widely as completely FREE
But the service is only free if you take out a subscription and then cancel within 7 days.
Judging by the very mixed reviews, cancelling is not a smooth process. Many customers report that their subscription was cancelled,
but charges continue to be applied to their credit card. Many also complain of simply not being able to get in touch with customer service to cancel.
The subscription is also a little confusing, because it is available at $8 a month if you don't take the 7 day free trial,
but if you take the one week trial, the subscription jumps to $39 a month. It's quite a penalty.
If you do not take out a subscription, you can pay a one-time fee for the Will service of $24 which is the cheapest Will service provider of all that we have reviewed.
Complementary services at LawDepot.ca
In terms of legal documents, LawDepot cannot be beaten.
They are the only online service provider that offers Codicils, Child Medical Consent forms, Gift Deeds,
as well as other tangential forms like Co-habitation Agreements, Separation Agreements, and Pre-nuptial Agreements.
If you do take out a LawDepot subscription, all of these forms are available to you, and not individually priced – although they can also be ordered individually.
Customer support at LawDepot.ca
LawDepot has an excellent knowledge base, and customer service is available by phone, email and live chat.
However, with the huge selection of legal documents, it can be difficult to get comprehensive answers for estate planning questions.
The answers, for the most part, are simple templated responses.
Of course, no online Will service provider is licensed to provide legal advice,
and there is a blurred line between offering help and providing legal advice.
LawDepot is very conservative with the information that is provided in their answers.
The customer reviews of LawDepot concern us.
They have by far the worst customer review rating on Google and many complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau.
The criticisms all seem to be based on the subscription model pricing and their advertising of FREE services which do not end up being free.
Better Business Bureau Reviews
To be fair, LawDepot spend a lot of time replying to every critical review,
with a standard apology for not being clear on their pricing.
But it does make you wonder how hard they are really trying to make everything clearer.
These criticisms have been flowing in for many, many years.
The user experience of setting up a Will with LawDepot is straightforward, but very form based.
The interface is a little dated, and there is a lack of flexibility within the tool.
However, it is the only service that allows you to see a preview of the document as it is being created, which is great.
LawDepot is actually the cheapest Will service provider of all of those reviewed,
but their subscription model is not intuitive at all.
It is theoretically possible to receive a free Last Will and Testament from LawDepot,
but the number of negative reviews online suggest that this is not as simple as advertised.