Some websites make it very easy to get legal documents prepared. All you do is pay a small fee, download some forms, read the directions and fill in the blanks on the form.
You can get all sorts of legal documents this way. This includes everything from starting a business to getting a will to getting divorce documents. Doing things this way seems cheaper than going to an attorney to get the documents prepared. As a result, many people are serving as their own “lawyers” these days.
This loss of business does not bother most attorneys too much. Why? Because if you look at the disclaimers on the websites where the forms are available, you will read that they are not substitutes for attorneys and do not give legal advice. The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog discusses this in “The Deficiencies of Online Legal Services.”
When people do not get legal advice before preparing legal documents, the result is that something can and often does go wrong. The result is real-world legal problems that need to be fixed.
This is great news for attorneys because fixing problems normally takes more time and costs more money than going to an attorney for advice and document preparation in the first place. It creates more work and money for attorneys.
Before you download a form to create a will, it would be wise to ask yourself if you really know what you are doing. Would you be better off getting legal advice from an attorney to make sure there is no trouble coming down the road?
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (May 26, 2018) “The Deficiencies of Online Legal Services.”
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