Should people who want to execute Wills and trusts go to a website that offers fill-in-the-blanks, generic, template legal documents or should they find a good estate planning lawyer? This is a question that the popular magazine and website Consumer Reports was intent on addressing and they took action to find the answers.
Consumer Reports really needs no introduction. It is perhaps the preeminent resource that we have for up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased information about products and services that consumers may be interested in. They endeavor to find out the straight story and they share it with their readers.
The magazine engaged the services of three very highly experienced, respected, and knowledgeable legal professionals. They asked these individuals to evaluate documents that were created using the online resources offered by three leading websites that offer do-it-yourself legal documents.
When it came to the last wills that were created the experts saw some flaws. It was possible to include contradicting causes, and the wording was not specific enough for their liking. They concluded that the wishes of the testator may not be completely clear when using one of these homemade documents.
After evaluating all of the findings Consumer Reports recommended that you go to a qualified lawyer any time you want to execute ironclad estate planning documents. They stated that only under the most elementary of circumstances could one of these documents possibly be acceptable.
This is what probate and trust lawyers have been saying ever since these types of websites emerged, but this independent confirmation should be enough to convince those of you who may still be skeptics.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
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