A family member of one of our clients decided to take the DIY approach to estate planning and use LegalZoom to create her own estate plan to “save money”. She was confident that she had done all the necessary research to create a comprehensive plan that would meet her needs.
However, when she compared her documents with the estate plan documents that we had prepared for our client, she was very disappointed. She quickly realized the lack of expertise and thoroughness that went into her own documents. She wished she had consulted with us from the beginning to ensure that her estate plan was up to par with the industry standards.
At the end of the day, the family member was grateful that her relative had chosen our firm to assist with their estate plan as it gave her a tangible example of the quality of work we provide. She learned a valuable lesson that day and found herself having to pay again to have a proper estate plan drafted.
This is the experience of so many who try to "do it themselves" and end up regretting it! Here we have outlined the four main reasons why you should never do estate planning through LegalZoom and instead work with an expert Estate planning lawyer.
1- LegalZoom is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice. They cannot give you the expert advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer who can provide customized solutions to meet your specific needs.
LegalZoom is a great resource for those looking for legal forms, documents, and general information about the law. However, it is important to note that LegalZoom is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice. This means that LegalZoom cannot give you the expert advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer who can provide customized
solutions to meet your specific needs.
When it comes to estate planning, it is important to understand the legalities and make sure you have the best information available to make the right decisions for your future. An experienced estate planning lawyer can provide you with the expert advice and guidance you need to ensure your plan is valid, meets your individual needs and succeeds in accomplishing your testamentary intent. A lawyer can also draft customized estate planning documents tailored to your situation, such as a testamentary trust or will, that are up to date with the latest state laws.
LegalZoom offers a variety of helpful resources, but it is important to remember that it is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice. If you need professional advice, it is best to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. They can help you make sure your estate plan is valid and covers all your bases. With the right advice, you can be confident that your estate plan is secure and will be properly executed according to your wishes.
2- LegalZoom has limited options and forms that may not adequately address your particular estate planning situation and goals.
LegalZoom and similar online legal services provide limited options and forms that may not be adequate to meet your particular estate planning goals. The forms offered on these sites are typically general, boilerplate documents that are not tailored to the individual needs of the person completing them. While they may be easy to use, they may not provide the necessary detail or application of law that is specific to your estate planning needs and testamentary intent.
For example, the forms offered through LegalZoom do not take into account the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction in which you live. This means that even if the form you fill out is accepted in one state, it may not be accepted in another. Additionally, if you are dealing with multiple jurisdictions, the form may not provide the legal advice or protection you need. Furthermore, even if the form is accepted in multiple jurisdictions, it may not address all the areas you must consider, such as taxes, asset protection, or even planning for long-term care.
In addition to the limited options and forms that are available through these sites, the forms may not address all the complex issues that are involved in estate planning. It is important to consider all the various aspects of your estate plan, including tax implications, asset protection, distribution of assets, and long-term care planning. A qualified estate planning attorney can help you understand your options and provide you with a comprehensive plan that will best address your individual needs and goals.
Overall, while LegalZoom and other online legal services can provide basic forms and information, they cannot provide the comprehensive legal guidance that is necessary to ensure that your particular situation and estate planning goals are adequately addressed. It is important to consult with a qualified attorney to ensure that your estate plan is tailored to your individual needs.
3- LegalZoom does not take into account your state's laws which can have a huge impact on the validity and enforceability of the documents you create.
LegalZoom can be a great resource for creating a variety of legal documents, but it's important to remember that it does not take into account your state's laws which can have a huge impact on the validity and enforceability of the documents you create. Every state has its own set of laws that govern the types of documents allowed, how they must be executed, and when they take effect. It is important to understand the laws in your state before you create any legal documents with LegalZoom or any other online
For example, if you are creating a will in California, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. If you attempt to create a valid will using LegalZoom without meeting the requirements for witnesses, it will not be legally enforceable. Similarly, if you are creating a trust and there are specific legal requirements in your state, such as certain terms or information that must be included, LegalZoom may not take that into account.
It is always best to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state before creating any legal documents. An attorney can provide you with advice and guidance on how to properly create a document that will be legally enforceable in your state. This will ensure that your documents are valid and effective and that your rights and interests are fully protected.
4- The cost of using LegalZoom may be more expensive in the long run since you may need to have your documents reviewed and revised if they are inaccurate, invalid, or incomplete.
Using resources like LegalZoom may end up being more expensive in the long run than consulting with a lawyer, especially for more complex legal matters. Many LegalZoom documents have been found to have discrepancies or inaccuracies, which can be costly to fix. This is especially true if the document is not a standard form, such as a will or
power of attorney.
Inaccuracies in documents can lead to costly legal problems if the document is not valid and enforceable by the court. It is important to consider the cost of having a lawyer review the document and revise it to ensure accuracy. If a document is not accurate or is missing important legal language or not properly executed, the court may not accept it and that person’s planning to avoid probate will all be for naught.
See our previous blog for a walkthrough of the probate process.
For more complex legal matters like estate planning, it is best to consult with a lawyer. A lawyer can review the documents and make sure it is accurate and enforceable. They can also provide advice and guidance on the best course of action for an individual’s or couple’s particular situation. The cost of consulting a lawyer may be more expensive up front, but it could save the individual and his or her family from costly legal problems in the long run.
At Anthony Saccaro Law, we are committed to helping you with all your estate planning needs. Our knowledgeable and experienced team have the resources and expertise to make sure your estate plan is drafted properly, efficiently, and in accordance with California law. We invite you to reach out to us today to discuss how we can help you plan for your future. With our help, you can be confident that your estate and heirs will be taken care of as you wish. Thank you for considering Anthony Saccaro Law. We look forward to working with you.