Jump to Navigation

Why Not to Buy a LegalZoom Last Will and Testament?

You have probably heard advertisements for LegalZoom.com stating that they are "founded by top attorneys" and that one will they produced was rated as "iron clad" by a law school professor. With Last Will and Testament packages beginning at $69.00 it's surprising that everyone doesn't have a LegalZoom drafted testamentary will. The reason many Minnesotans planning to draft a will are skeptical about LegalZoom is simple - you get what you pay for, and the drafting of your Last Will and Testament is not the time to cut corners.

The High Cost of Lost Cost Legal Services

Unlike a qualified Minnesota will attorney, LegalZoom is not a law firm. In effect, they provide consumers with publically available forms that they repackage and then offer to the public for sale. Their marketing messages suggest that legal advice and services are included in their Minnesota will package. However, LegalZoom disclaims its Minnesota will drafting service as not providing Minnesota legal advice or offering the review of any licensed attorney. This marketing tactic has the potential to create a false sense of security by leaving many with the mistaken belief that their Minnesota or Wisconsin testamentary will is examined by a licensed attorney.

LegalZoom's idea of drafting a Minnesota testamentary will involves you entering data into blank fields on a form based on general instructions and then printing out the form on your home printer. LegalZoom's second will preparation service is their document preparation option, which requires Minnesotans to answer standard form questions. A LegalZoom employee then posts your answers into their legal form templates and provides a copy to you as a ready-to-witness will document. LegalZoom is not a law firm, so they cannot advise whether your data is legally correct. Providing advice would be considered the unauthorized practice of law. Also, no attorney-client relationship and thus, no attorney-client privilege is created between you and LegalZoom, which means that all of the protections afforded you under the auspices of confidentiality are non-existent with LegalZoom. The only auditing you receive from LegalZoom is from a non-attorney, who will check to make certain your answers are complete, that your answers make sense, that the appropriate forms are used, and that all of the form fields are filled.

Bringing Knowledge to Minnesota and Wisconsin Estate Planners

Conversely, a Minnesota or Wisconsin licensed attorney will consult with you confidentially about the desired distribution of real and personal property and identify the best legal solution for meeting your goals under Minnesota's Uniform Probate Code. He will then construct an individualized custom testamentary will according to your distribution wishes and with full knowledge of the interpretative legal meaning of your will's language. Finally, an attorney will administrate the witnessing and attestation of your will and provide counsel and recommendations on safekeeping the will, will modification, and execution of the will at death. Furthermore, an attorney who drafts a testamentary will is under a continuing obligation to remain abreast of changes to the Uniform Probate Code that might affect your desired outcome and communicate those changes to you so that you can adapt your will if necessary.

The choice is yours. Following LegalZoom's general check list and filling in the blanks on a boilerplate form seems like a sensible idea and may result in the appearance of a completed Minnesota Last Will and Testament. However, without the proper legal counseling of a qualified Minnesota attorney, a form will might be easily challenged or altogether unenforceable because of technical errors which would have been obvious to those skilled in the trade of drafting a will. Using a cheap form will could result in unforeseen costs in having to hire a skilled Minnesota attorney to represent the estate during complex litigation when the form will is challenged. When all of your effort should be concentrated on drafting a Minnesota testamentary will that is error-free and intended to simplify matters for your family upon your death, you shouldn't seek substandard alternatives.

Contact Chmielewski Law Offices today via our email form or toll free at 866-446-6529 to consult with a knowledgeable Twin Cities testamentary will drafting lawyer who will invest the time and energy necessary to help organize and manage your estate reliably.