A couple of weeks ago, I published a blog post entitled The Problem With LegalZoom (And Other Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Solutions) which highlighted some of the pitfalls of relying on do-it-yourself document preparations services.
The article piqued a lot of interest and two weeks later, it is still one of the most popular posts on this blog. Because of its popularity, the article is turning up on the first page of many Google searches related to LegalZoom when keywords such as “LegalZoom Texas” and “LegalZoom trusts” are used.
Now it might be purely coincidental, but LegalZoom has apparently taken notice of the article as well because the information it now provides about Texas wills is different than it was just two weeks ago.
LegalZoom Corrected Its Mistakes
On the day I published my original article, LegalZoom’s website incorrectly stated that Texas recognized oral wills, even though Texas had repealed the statute authorizing oral wills three years earlier.
LegalZoom’s website also incorrectly stated that Texas did not have a statute pertaining to care for pets, even though Texas had enacted a statute authorizing pet trusts four years earlier.
But now, these inaccuracies have been corrected. And the only evidence of the mistakes is a screenshot of the original website copy.
So LegalZoom’s problem is fixed?
LegalZoom may have changed its website copy to accurately reflect the current laws. But the real problem with LegalZoom can be summed up by its own disclaimer:
- The employees of LegalZoom are not acting as your attorney.
- LegalZoom’s legal document service is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.
- LegalZoom does not review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation.
- The legal information on LegalZoom’s Website is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date.
These warnings aren’t unique to LegalZoom. Virtually all do-it-yourself will preparation and other legal service sites have a similar type of disclaimer. So when you use them, you do so at your own risk.
But Doesn’t LegalZoom Offer a “Peace of Mind Review”?
For a little extra cost, LegalZoom offers a “Peace of Mind Review.” Despite what the phase implies, this review involves little more than proofreading the document to make sure:
- All the blanks are filled in, and there are no spelling, grammatical, capitalization or punctuation mistakes.
- The document is paginated properly, and the font is consistent throughout.
- Abbreviations are not used.
- Full names are given and appear consistently in the document.
- Correct residency information and shipping addresses have been provided.
At no time will LegalZoom offer any advice, opinion or recommendation about the best way to protect your family and preserve and distribute your assets in the manner you chose.
Do-It-Yourself Wills Are Risky
Laws will continue to change and attorneys will continue to keep up with them so that we can provide our clients with personalized advice that is correct, complete, and up-to-date.
Will LegalZoom and other do-it-yourself document preparation services do the same? Are you willing to take that risk?