Consumer Reports: A well-written will allows your estate to be distributed legally and efficiently, costing your beneficiaries the least money and heartache. But you don't need an attorney to write a will. A number of software providers promise to help you draft a legal will for far less than you'd pay a lawyer.

Like tax software, these products guide you through an interview to draw out your intentions regarding, say, how you want your property distributed and who you want as executor of your estate.

We tested three electronic offerings: LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer, and Quicken WillMaker Plus. The first two allow you to create a will online; the third is available as either a download or a CD-ROM (see Product details). First we created profiles of individuals from three different New York families. Our reporter then completed the interviews as if she were those individuals, drafting nine wills in all.

We sent the wills and interview records—with product identification hidden—to Gerry W. Beyer, a professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock who specializes in estates and trusts. Beyer judged each product on how comprehensive the interviews were and how much information was provided, and on the overall quality of the wills. Our reporter evaluated the software for ease of use.

Read more of the review of 3 DIY Will software products.