Now this post is not to discredit legalzoom.com, they are offering a service of providing you with a form that you fill in the blanks too, a flat fee, for the form, AND a guarantee. “If you are not satisfied with our services for any reason, please contact us immediately and we will either correct the situation or provide a refund, your choice”.
As smart consumers we are all looking for the BIGGER – BETTER – DEAL, and there is nothing wrong with that when it makes sense to bargain shop. America is great because of its free market system, allowing for competition and the promise of low prices without compromising quality. I would be lying if I did not admit that prior to buying the latest electronic gadget I did a little web surfing to find any and all coupons that promised to save me a couple dollars. However, what worries me is when I see clients come across my desk with beautifully stacked and stapled documents that they bought and downloaded from legalzoom.com, to be what they consider to be rock solid estate planning documents (will, power of attorney, health care directive, etc.)
The problem that I have with this guarantee is that its a false sense of security in that most people do not review their will in their down time for errors, and even if they did, most people would not know if their will was defective. Nine out of ten times people pull out the will when the Testator (will maker) is on their death bed, or has already passed away. If the testator is on their death bed it may be to late to draft a will, because of questions regarding capacity, and if the person is deceased, then for obvious reasons the will cannot be drafted.
So the guarantee is as good as nothing, and the family of the deceased person who decided to go bargain shopping for their will is left to pick up the pieces, and the bill.
Drafting estate planning documents, like a will or trust, is not suppose to be simple. Legalzoom.com promises simplicity, “answer a couple of questions and you are good to go” – NO. Think about it. If it were to easy to draft a will, or trust, or power of attorney, I would not be writing this post, and attorney’s would no longer be needed in the estate planning document realm. Take it from me, attorney’s are still drafting these documents, and there is heavy litigation bogging down our court system with the validity of wills, and the age old family discourse of “dad really wanted me to have that, you tricked/influenced him” as a main topic of litigation.
Bottom line: Have your will done by a Florida Wills & Trust attorney. A one sized fits all approach to estate planning is dangerous. The cost of a will at our office is competitive, and the peace of mind that your documents were drafted by a Florida Wills & Trust attorney is priceless.