Over the last decade, online legal services have become increasingly popular. These online legal service companies seek to provide customers with an alternative to traditional lawyers. Online legal service providers often promote their ease of use. Customers only need to enter some information into an online form and pay, and the company will do the rest.
Online legal service companies often promote low prices and quick turnaround time for business formations, wills, trusts, and contracts. While online legal services might seem appealing, they are often not the best choice for clients who need estate planning documents.
Our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Are Worth the Investment
At Surprenant & Beneski, PC, we helped to correct online will forms for our clients. Our lawyers have decades of experience creating wills, trusts, and estate plans for our clients. If you need an estate plan, contact our Southeastern Massachusetts estate planning law firm as soon as possible.
The Disadvantages of Using an Online Legal Service for Your Estate Plan
While online legal services can provide you with quick, basic wills, they cannot provide the in-depth and comprehensive estate planning that you need. Using online legal service companies to prepare your will or trust has serious negative disadvantages. These online companies cannot ask you the pertinent questions that will help you create an estate plan tailored to achieve your specific goals.
Online Legal Services Are Not Estate Planning Lawyers
Online legal companies openly state that they are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice. These companies recommend speaking with a licensed attorney when customers have legal questions about their estates.
Some online legal service companies provide a network of attorneys with whom you can speak. Keep in mind that you will pay extra to talk with one of these lawyers. You will not develop a meaningful relationship with these attorneys, and you will have minimal time with the attorney. These phone meetings are rushed, and they are often with a different lawyer each time.
You Are Responsible for Executing Your Document When You Use Online Legal Services
When you pay to have an online legal company prepare your documents, it is up to you to make sure they execute your will or trust properly. In many cases, our clients bring us revocable trusts, or wills, that have not been signed or witnessed correctly.
Additionally, in Massachusetts, the testator, or person who creates the will must sign the will. At least two witnesses who are not beneficiaries in the will must sign the will. In many cases, those who order wills and trusts through online services are not aware of all of the detailed legal requirements for Massachusetts wills and trusts.
Because a lawyer is not preparing your estate planning document, you will not know for sure whether you’ve executed your document to make it legally enforceable in Massachusetts. You do not want your family to be surprised when they submit your will to the probate court only to find out that the will is not legally enforceable.
Using Online Legal Services Could Cost More Money Over the Long Run
While using a basic form for a will or trust might save you money initially, it could cost you significantly in the long run. When online legal services do not draft wills and trusts properly, an expensive legal battle could happen. For example, a will created by a form might not include critical clauses that you need to make sure your property becomes distributed according to your wishes.
When an attorney doesn’t review your online legal document, the beneficiaries of your will might need to become involved in a prolonged legal battle. For example, some of your beneficiaries might contend that the probate court should recognize your will. Other heirs of your estate could challenge the will and claim that the court should distribute your wealth according to Massachusetts’ intestate laws.
Legal Forms Cannot Ask Important Question
One of the essential skills of an estate planning lawyer is to ask clients important questions to get to the bottom of their clients’ needs and goals. Forms for wills and trust cannot ask probing questions necessary for creating a thorough estate plan. They can’t ask questions like whether or not your child has a disability and needs special consideration when it comes to receiving benefits.
Online legal services cannot ask you whether you would like to leave your children equal amounts of property. They won’t ask you whether you would like to deduct the amount of a loan you made from your firstborn child from his share of the estate. They also won’t ask you whether you’d like to create a trust for your underage child after you pass away. It would be best if you had a lawyer who will take the time to listen to your needs and ask you the kinds of questions that will help them craft a comprehensive estate plan that matches your intentions.
Complex Estate Planning Matters Require an Experienced Lawyer
No software can replace decades of estate planning experience. At Surprenant & Beneski, PC., we offer our clients our extensive knowledge and skill. We don’t just ask our clients to fill out a simple form. We take the time to understand our clients’ whole financial situation. We do not rush our clients. Instead, we listen to their concerns, needs, and goals for the future.
We offer more than just a single document that may or not be legally enforceable. Instead, we put together a comprehensive will-based or trust-based estate plan that includes all of the documents you need to rest easy knowing that your estate plan is complete and enforceable.
Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Today
If you need to create an estate plan or update your existing plan, we can help. Contact the Southeastern Massachusetts estate planning lawyers at Surprenant & Beneski, PC today to schedule your initial consultation.