Buyer Beware When it Comes to National Online Legal Document Services

By: Rudman Winchell attorney Tracy J. Roberts

As a working mother I completely understand how busy life can get.  You realize that you need an estate plan to manage your affairs if something happens to you but finding the time to actually think about and develop a plan gets lost in the whirlwind of a day.  

Of course, we have all heard about the online legal document services that offer you inexpensive estate planning documents.  Online document services offer a tempting bargain. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize what they are getting themselves into with an online document service. That’s because the online document services have spent millions trying to create the impression that their services are similar to those of an attorney. They put lawyers in their commercials, hire celebrities to endorse them, and even promote stories of people who have successfully used their documents.

All the marketing in the world, however, can’t erase the simple truth. The online services are not law firms. They are not lawyers. They can’t give legal advice.  Instead, they are “document assistants” – a term that states use to define service providers who type your information into generic form documents.

In other words, a document assistant is like a robot that enters your information into a form, whether or not it makes sense and whether or not it is a good idea. If you make a mistake, they can’t warn you.  If you have questions, they can’t help you. They can’t even promise you that your estate plan will work in the way you envision it. They are not attorneys, which means they can’t promise a particular legal result.

Which is why I am so excited to be a part of Rudman Winchell’s new online estate planning service.  By using our online service you get the ease of using an online tool to create your estate plan, with the assurances that an attorney is reviewing your documents.  So, how does this service work?  There is a simple questionnaire that, depending on your circumstances, takes about thirty minutes to complete.   Once you submit the questionnaire, our office prepares draft estate planning documents (Will, Power of Attorney, Advance Health-Care Directive) and your estate plan is reviewed by one of our estate planning attorneys.  We then email or mail you drafts for your review.  Once the documents are to your satisfaction, a meeting is scheduled with either me or another estate planning attorney in our office to review your documents to ensure you understand how your estate plan works and to sign the documents.

We think you will find this service to be an easy, convenient and affordable way to give your family security and peace of mind. For more information, please visit our Estate Planning website at https://onlinelegal.rudmanwinchell.com/.