Thursday, March 6, 2008

Yesterday, a new client came in to our office. She was unsure of the Will and Trust that she got a few months ago from LegalZoom and wanted to ask some questions and possibly make a few changes. After reviewing the documents, I went to the internet to see what kind of feedback I could find from customers of these services. I couldn’t find much, but I did stumble onto a blog posting from a notary public about how impressive the LegalZoom will and trusts are and what a nifty binder they come in. Classy!!

I know as estate planning attorneys we’re going to be looked at suspiciously when we argue the benefit of our services over what you will get with a document preparation service like LegalZoom. And I know that these sites make it clear that they are only providing basic legal documents, not legal advice.

This site disclaimer says it all.

“LegalZoom is not a law firm, and the employees of LegalZoom are not acting as your attorney. LegalZoom does not practice law and does not give legal advice. This site doesn’t create in attorney-client relationship, and by using LegalZoom, no attorney-client relationship will be created . . .

Instead you are representing yourself . . . .

Legal zoom gives you a set of basic questions to answer and then checks them for completeness, spelling and grammar, as well as consistency of names, address and the like. So basically, you are hiring them to give you form that you probably could find at the library and for spell checking it. At four or five hundred dollars, that’s hardly a bargain. The rest is do-it-yourself law. Study up!I’ll post later on some of the problems we found. If you have stories or information relevant to the discussion on these document providers (good or bad), we’d like to hear about it.

1 comment:

iNotarize said...

I'll be interested in reading more about this topic. As a mobile notary public, I am hired to notarize Wills, POAs and the likes, on a weekly basis. Nearly 100% of the documents have been downloaded from this same website or others. My customers are disappointed when I tell them that I cannot comment whatsoever on the accuracy of the documents; nor can I instruct them on what their next steps should be after I have notarized it. I think if more customers had an idea of how much it would cost for them to consult an attorney they would be more apt to do so. I think many people assume that they cannot afford the services of an attorney (which may or may not be true).

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