I got a call from a friend explaining that he had just drafted a will on legalzoom.com, and was wondering if I would take a quick look at it. He said he would just feel better if I would glance at it for him. This is actually a call I’ve gotten a few times. It’s always an awkward conversation. The truth is, I know what he expected. He honestly, and with completely good intentions, expected me to say “You bet! No problem!” He then expected I would take 5 minutes, skim over it, and say something like, “Yep, that’ll work!”
Instead, in as gracious a tone as I could, I explained that the problem is that I could draft him a new will in far less time than I could review the will that he created on Legalzoom.
Lawyers just can’t glance at important legal documents and give you an opinion. Sure, we can have a “cocktail party” discussion about a legal matter, and maybe even give an off-the-cuff opinion – but when it comes to giving you actual legal advice, particularly legal advice you will likely rely upon, we just can’t. When I review a document for a client – whether it’s a will, recording agreement, or whatever – I read every word. Every. Word. I can’t afford not to. And truthfully, my clients, and even my friends, can’t afford for me not to either.
There is, of course, the other issue of relying on an online software program to draft your will. As you would imagine, I’m not too keen on this idea. But, not for the reasons you might expect. Wills are technical, legal documents with enormous importance. If not done properly they can really cause problems. I just have serious reservations about blindly trusting a software program to generate such an important and technical document. Not to mention, there are certain formalities surround the signing of a will that could invalidate a will if not properly performed.
Here’s the shameless plug. If you need a will – and you do – call us. Not Legalzoom.