Sales of Living Will Software Rise

Living Will Software Sales Surge (AP)

Sales of computer software to create living wills are surging amid the high-profile debate over Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged Florida woman who died Thursday.

“We’ve never seen sales like this,” said Clark Miller, a spokesman for Inc., the creator of Quicken WillMaker Plus 2005. “The living will has simply become a part of American consciousness in a way it hadn’t been before.”

WillMaker Plus sales rose 63 percent in the five days after March 18, when Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed, compared to the prior five days. At Kansas City-based H&R Block Inc., spokesman Tom Linafelt said sales of the company’s WILLPower program jumped 95 percent last week. Other software makers including Carson, Calif.-based Cosmi Corp. and Socrates Media LLC also reported spikes in sales.

“What happens in a case like this, it becomes a bellwether for folks to become aware about an issue that normally they wouldn’t,” said Michael Kahn, a spokesman for Chicago-based Socrates.

Software industry analyst Chris Swenson of research firm NPD Group, said will-writing software and other legal programs have seen a 63 percent increase in sales over the past quarter, compared with the previous three months.

He said he doesn’t believe the spike was a result of the Schiavo case, but rather of the release cycle of titles in the legal software category.

Whatever the cause of the surge, I know that this story would have gotten little press were it not for the case.

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Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Paul says:

    Up 95% huh???? It would look impressive on a graph but the reality is, these are among the slowest selling pieces of software written, so “doubling nothing gets you nothing.”

    They aren’t quite multiplying by zero, but you get the idea.

    I would have expected 1000% since they are starting from such a small base.

  2. Bachbone says:

    When these software-prepared wills start coming to ‘fruition,’ another spike will be seen. On an anger scale, because the fine print disclaimer tells any buyer who takes time to read it that a lawyer should be consulted to make sure what you have is legal in your state. In other words, the software is not warranteed to do a proper job on your particular case. Caveat emptor!