How a typeform is scything down the time it takes to make a will

Leaving this mortal coil without preparing a will can create a living nightmare for those you leave behind. Some people prefer not to face their mortality. Others think that making a will is a complicated and expensive process, so they put it off yet another day.

Canadian firm Willowbee is helping to kill this notion by allowing people to “build a customized will and testament in under eight minutes…for free” – and it’s all thanks to a typeform.

The challenge

Willowbee was set up by software engineer Jevin Maltais, and business-minded lawyer, Simon Sigler. The idea for the company was born out of Jevin spending $2,000 on a will that turned out to be quite standard in terms of its content. So, the pair set out to make it easy for anyone to build a will on the go.

Users sign up then fill out the following typeform survey to build their will. The whole process is designed to take less than eight minutes.

Jevin Maltais of WillowbeeOne of the biggest challenges for Jevin was the need to collect a lot of information to generate a personalized will. Part of that problem is that the much of the information that needs to be collected is contextual.

Luckily for Willowbee, Typeform’s Logic Jump feature allows them to route the customer depending on what they answer.

“We have to collect a lot of information from our users,” said Jevin. “The Logic jumps feature in Typeform was critical for us to streamline the experience for user. We already had a paper questionnaire that our lawyer would use. We initially converted this into a typeform. From there we tried to cut, and add Logic jumps wherever possible. For example: If we asked if the user has ever been married and they answered no, we could skip a lot of questions.”

The solution

So what happens once the user has answered all the questions? If the path they take isn’t too complex then they’ are taken to a Thank You Screen with a link to generate a PDF will. If the customer’s needs indicate a consultation is needed, they are taken to a different Thank You Screen with a link to schedule a consultation, thus generating a lead for the Jevin and Simon.

But how exactly does Willowbee generate the will from the customer’s data? Here’s where it gets interesting.

“We used webhooks to pass all the data from the typeform to our app to build the documents,” said Jevin. “Then we do some rules-based parsing and conversion of the data, and turn it into something usable by our document-building engine.

Screenshot showing how Willowbee's will generator works

By connecting up the typeform to Jevin’s proprietary document creation app, Willowbee drove down costs and effort:

“We went back and forth between the document templates and the typeform. In total, it probably took three days to finalize it. This likely saved us four weeks of engineering effort.”

The outcome

Very little marketing was done by Jevin and Simon aside from posting on LinkedIn, Facebook, and their city’s Reddit page. Yet, word spread quickly, turning the will builder into an instant success:

“Within two days, we had completed 250 wills. Currently, we’ve processed more than 800 wills.”

Jevin says Typeform’s simplicity allowed them to get the will builder to market quicker than other projects he’s worked on:

“In a different product, we hand-built the a complete registration form for a medical association using Angular and Rails. With all the logic required, it was painful and took a lot of effort. Typeform could have really helped us.”

Screenshot showing Willowbee's landing page

Willowbee makes it easy for someone to put a will together. Yet the system has to collect a lot of data from each person to work. Jevin is keen to point out that Typeform can be ideal for capturing data in a conversational way:

“Companies might think their form would be too complicated for Typeform. By trying to break the problem up into sections, thinking logically and trying to make the experience linear, I think Typeform is worth a hard look.”

Inspired? What to do next

You’re probably not looking to build a will creator. But if you need to turn the data you collect from someone into a printable report, you can learn from Willowbee. We love their solution for two reasons:

  1. Its clever use of webhooks that generates a customized document based on the data captured in the typeform.
  2. The way Logic jumps are used to move people through the questions. If someone has needs that can’t be catered for by a standard will, that person is funneled to a page where they can sign up for a lawyer consultation. This makes for an easy way of generating high quality leads for Willowbee’s premium service.

Having read Willowbee’s story, perhaps you’re ready to put something similar together yourself. If you want to merge typeform responses into a personalized PDF document you can either :

  • Use Webhooks as Jevin did. For a guide to using webhooks see this Help Center article.
  • If you don’t have the developer skills/resources for this, you can use an integration with Google Sheets and Google Document Studio. For a complete guide to setting that up, check out this article.

If you end up creating something great with Typeform we’d love to hear from you. Just send us your answers to these questions and you never know, we could be featuring you in a future article.