The Pitfalls of Do-It-Yourself Legal Work
I recently saw someone post an article on Twitter announcing that the popular internet legal service provider LegalZoom.com is being sued in Missouri for the unauthorized practice of law. That article can be found here: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2010/02/09/legalzoom-sued-in-class-action-for-unauthorized-law-practice/id=8816/.
That article prompted me to write this blog about the advantages of using an attorney for your estate planning rather than any online service provider. While the online companies are often extremely inexpensive, I find it next to impossible for them to be able to analyze your individual situation and needs, much less provide legal feedback. Here is Legal Zoom's Disclaimer from their website:
Disclaimer: The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered. Legal Zoom's Legal Document Service is not a law firm and is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm.
A South Carolina Will not only disposes of your property at your death in the manner of your choosing, but for parents, it expresses your choice of who you would like to be the Guardian of any of your minor children. With such important matters in question, why would any person choose to handle these matters online? Here is what a Texas Blog author thinks on the matter: http://www.texaswillsandtrustslaw.com/2010/01/27/the-problem-with-legalzoom-and-other-do-it-yourself-estate-planning-solutions/ .
I remember from my law school days, one of my favorite professors telling me that he spends considerable time (and that means $$$ for his clients) fixing problems with online legal documents. He added that his clients would have saved more money had they gone to an attorney in the first place, rather than pay an attorney later to fix the problems with the online generated documents.
In summation, please save you and your family the headache and expense of fixing problems created by using any online legal document preparation service. Consult a qualified attorney in your area, and get the legal advice that you need and deserve.