Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Legalzoom vs. Attorney Services

March 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Business Law

I have encountered this question often, “what’s the difference between hiring an attorney and using legalzoom.com to prepare your documents?”  The short answer is individualized advice.  What is it worth to have individualized advice when you are setting up your new business or preparing your will?  The question reminds me of that tax commercial where a couple is getting audited and the wife asks the husband, sarcastically, “why don’t you call the accountant, oh wait, you can’t because you prepared our return from a box.”

When you use a document preparation service, the documents are prepared using the information you provide.  The service cannot give you advice regarding what form of business is right for you, the tax consequences of choosing an entity or advise you of the repercussions of including certain clauses in your Will.  The bottom line is, if you don’t understand every clause in a contract or Will and don’t know the consequences of what is contained in your document, you can’t ask your preparer.

For example, I had a Will signing yesterday and during the review of the Will, I was asked to explain what certain clauses meant, like “Independent Administration of Estates Act” and what the “Period for Survivorship” clause was for.  These are individualized clauses which are included or not included in the Will depending on the wishes of the Testator.  Some clients would choose not to include the “Independent Administration” clause based on their situation and other clients would prefer a shorter period for survivorship than others.  As an attorney, I am able to clarify the meaning and explain options under these clauses and anything else that I’ve drafted for my client.

Update 10-20-09

One thing to be aware of when you are preparing your Will is that there are limitations on who may be named executor of your Will, limitations on who may help you prepare your Will and have it still be valid, and additional requirements if you name certain people as beneficiaries (such as a care custodian or attorney).

Comments

4 Responses to “Legalzoom vs. Attorney Services”
  1. Great post. I wish more people knew the dangers of using the Legalzooms of the world.

  2. Very informative. Legalzoom will create more litigation, lawsuits, broken relationships, and loss of money than any benefits they could provide for individuals. I work at an estate planning lawfirm, and we constantly see problems arising from “do-it-yourself” documents that people have relied on.

  3. It is such a great source that you are offering and you perform away totally free. I love viewing websites that will understand the worthiness of offering a quality resource for free. It?s the old what circles comes around program.

  4. Brent Ripley says:

    Just came across this. Every word is still true two years later.

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