Walmart shoppers might one day be able to stop in and make a last will and testament, if a development in Canada is any indicator. Last year, several Walmart stores in the Toronto, Canada area began offering low-cost legal service to shoppers. These services included the notarization of documents, as well as creating simple last wills and testaments. While no Walmarts in the United States have begun offering such services, the issue is something we thought you should know about.
Walmart Locations Offer Legal Services
The legal services offered through the Toronto area Walmarts were not directly provided by Walmart itself. Instead, Walmart leased retail space to an area law firm, which offered limited legal services to Walmart customers.
In Canada, as in the United States, there are laws that limit who can provide legal advice. Law firms cannot go into business with other companies to provide legal advice. This is why the Walmart stores leased retail space to the law firm, but do not provide legal advice on their own.
If Walmarts in the United States ever begin offering legal services, they will likely do it in a similar manner.
Low-Cost Legal Services and Estate Plans
Walmart stores offering low-cost legal services can be seen as a part of a growing trend. As many people find themselves unable to afford to hire an attorney, they may turn to DIY or low-cost legal services. This is especially true with estate plans, as much of the planning involves creating documents.
While low-cost legal services might seem appealing, be cautious when considering such services. Cost effective plans are those that protect you now, protect you if you become disabled, and protect your estate after you die. A low-cost plan might save you money today, but it might prove more costly in the long run.
There is no single estate planning tool that can cover all your needs, desires, or circumstances. Every estate plan has to be created to meet the needs of the individual. One-size-fits all solutions are never as good as plans created with the advice and guidance of an experienced attorney.
Many people who fear the high cost of hiring a lawyer have never spoken to one about crafting an estate plan. The cost of having a lawyer create a plan is often far less than expected.
In the end, your best option is always to talk to a lawyer about creating a plan that fits your budget and your needs. Whether or not low-cost legal services pop up at a Walmart or other store near you, you probably should not trust such services to create an estate plan that meets your individual needs.