With the advancement of the Internet and the convenience that accompanies it, more and more entities are emerging that attempt to provide simplicity and convenience to solving your legal needs and providing legal documents. However, such convenience can disguise long-term negative consequences. Here are some common negative consequences of using LegalZoom and similar Internet-based programs for your estate plan:
1. LegalZoom does not provide personal legal advice. While LegalZoom provides convenience and quick access to estate planning documents from the convenience of your couch, the program does not provide you with legal advice that is personal and tailored to achieve your specific goals. Meeting with an attorney face-to-face allows an attorney to understand exactly what your goals are and help you achieve those goals within the confines of the law. At Morgan & Perry Law, we take a holistic approach to meeting your legal needs. This means that we focus on the whole person and the whole of the problem as a way of finding more healthy and sustainable solutions to legal problems. LegalZoom does not provide you with any advice, only a blank to fill-in on a document.
2. The savings now may not be worth the long-term costs. LegalZoom does provide a cheaper alternative than using an attorney for your estate planning needs, there is no dispute about that. However, that money you save right now by using LegalZoom will likely be substantially less than the costs that will arise should the LegalZoom documents be deficient. If the LegalZoom documents turn out to be deficient, many costs may arise such as the costs of probate, litigation for will contests, and the like. While such issues may only arise after your death, they will provide an additional headache to loved ones while they are already grieving their loss. Such headache and costs can be avoided by taking the time to meet with an attorney for your estate plan and spending more money now for an attorney’s services.
3. LegalZoom is not always up-to-date on changes in the law. Attorneys are required to provide competent legal representation to their clients. This requires them to stay up-to-date on the current state of the law in their jurisdiction and be aware of changes in the law and apply those changes to their practice. LegalZoom, despite its convenience, is not always the most up-to-date on the changes of the law in a particular jurisdiction creating the potential for extensive problems with the estate planning documents they provide. Using an attorney for your estate planning needs will ensure that your estate documents comply with the law in its current state.
4. You may not get to have your day in court. While LegalZoom provides you with estate planning documents that they purport to be valid and sufficient, they display a disclaimer that you may have missed. That disclaimer states that even though you are using LegalZoom to create your estate plan, using their services does not create any sort of attorney-client relationship. Since no attorney-client relationship is created by using LegalZoom, if it comes to light that your estate planning documents are deficient you will likely not be able to sue them for malpractice. In this situation, you would be left with a worthless piece of paper and no recourse.
5. Your family and life savings are too important to cut corners! The purpose of an estate plan is to provide for your family in the event of your death. LegalZoom may be convenient and quick and easy, but it has many pitfalls. Don’t let convenience and simplicity cause additional financial and emotional hardships for your family whilst they are grieving your death. Contact our firm today for your estate planning needs and avoid the higher costs that can arise in the long run from cutting corners by using LegalZoom.