March 22, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Do-it-yourself estate planning sites (DIY's): Are they a good idea?
You may have seen advertisements from LegalZoom, Nolo and Rocket Lawyer for estate-planning assistance. However, if you are interested in creating a will
, trust, power of attorney or other legal instrument, you should think twice before taking an online shortcut. While these services can be beneficial, they may not fully address your legal needs. This is especially true if you have a large and complex estate, multiple small assets or more than one heir.
Consumer Reports conducted a thorough evaluation of the aforementioned "do-it-yourself" (DIY) systems. Using online worksheets or downloads, Consumer Reports created a will, a home lease for a landlord, a car bill of sale for a seller and a promissory note. Subsequently, the company asked three legal scholars to review the documents.
The research found that the three services were better than legal drafting by individuals without training; however, in most cases, the products were not sufficient to meet most legal needs and intentions. Moreover, in some cases, the services did not create legal documents with specific, detailed language, leaving them susceptible to unintended legal results and consequences.
Testing do-it-yourself legal documents
Rocket Lawyer, LegalZoom and Nolo all utilize interview-style or questionnaire-format practices, which aim to gather information from a particular client. While Nolo's system is somewhat thorough and Rocket Lawyer can create a simple will, experts found that the systems are not adequate for more complex client situations.
For example, one DIY service will not permit a child's trust go beyond age 35, despite estate planning laws that allow this in several jurisdictions. Or, in some states, the testator and required witnesses are supposed to sign a created will in each other's presence. While this can easily be done in a lawyer's office, this may not the case for online. This could render a document invalid.
Furthermore, Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom are very flexible; while this appears to be a good thing, allowing a consumer to make significant changes might create issues in the legal documents, including contradictory clauses. Also, some programs cannot be tailored to specific jurisdictions, leaving some drafts void under some state laws.
While online DIY services may cut initial legal costs here and there, for ultimate cost savings, it is best for consumers to consult an experienced lawyer. Estate planning
can be extremely complex. These services oversimplify the amount of contemplation required for legal drafting. A poorly drafted document can end up causing thousands of dollars in correcting the problems.
Attorneys fully recognize that people are more cost conscious than ever. Many offices will provide you with forms to complete on line in order to make the process more efficient and less costly.
Ultimately, however, it is difficult for a machine to gather sufficient information for an estate plan. Having personal, face-to-face communication with a knowledgeable lawyer is invaluable in helping you achieve your desired legal goals. To help ensure that your assets, property and money fall into the correct hands after you pass, contact a qualified estate-planning attorney.
Article provided by Law Offices of Bob Leonard, Jr.
Visit us at www.bobleonard.com---
Press release service and press release distribution provided by http://www.24-7pressrelease.com
# # #Read more Press Releases from FL Web Advantage: