Consumer Reports: Beware of Self-Help Legal Websites for Wills and Other Legal Documents
The September 2012 issue of Consumer Reports reported that documents generated by certain self-help legal websites could lead to unintended consequences.
Consumer Reports used the self-help legal websites to create a will, a residential lease, a promissory note and a bill of sale. These legal documents were then examined by three law professors in a blind test. The professors found, amongst other issues, that the documents lacked specificity and were not always tailored to the correct jurisdiction.
Consumer Reports concluded that “[u]sing any of the three services is generally better than drafting the documents yourself without legal training or not having them at all… [a]nd in some cases, the other documents aren’t specific enough or contain language that could lead to an unintended result.”
The cost-savings that is realized by creating an estate plan without the counsel of an attorney is often negated by issues that could have been identified and avoided with the advice of a professional. Engaging an attorney for estate planning services is often a wise and valuable investment.
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