LegalZoom and other online estate planning document form providers are available for less money than you would pay to consult and work with a qualified estate planning attorney. But, as always, you get what you pay for. Here are 3 reasons you should NOT use LegalZoom or other forms providers.
- There is NO Individual Customization
Entering your name and the name of your loved ones into computer fields is not individual customization; its simply word-processing.
When you work with a qualified estate planning attorney, he or she will review your personal financial and family situation as well as your goals. Youll be asked questions and provided with personal advice and a personal estate plan design.
- Your Forms May NOT Work
Your forms may not be honored by financial institutions or medical providers or they may not be appropriate for your particular situation; therefore, they wont work.
A California executor, representing 3,000 Californians, is suing LegalZoom because the trust they sold her uncle was not honored by financial institutions so no assets were transferred into the trust when he died. This is a very big deal because probate fees in California are extremely high and because the trustee only has control over assets actually transferred into the trust. His plan didnt work.
- Your Forms May NOT be Legally Valid
Without attorney supervision, your estate planning documents may not be executed properly. If not executed properly, the documents are not legally valid and cannot be honored. This is serious; if the documents arent legally valid, its as if they dont exist and the court and state law will create an estate plan for you; it likely will not be what you would have wanted.
This also happened in the California case, not only was the trust not honored, but the uncles will was not properly executed and was therefore invalid.
If you are thinking about using LegalZoom or another online form provider, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney first. If youve already used such as service, it would likely be in your best interest to update your plan with the support of a qualified estate planning attorney.