I was reminded again yesterday that Legal Zoom (legalzoom.com) is not right for everybody. In my opinion Legal Zoom is great for VERY simple situations. If you want a simple will or simple power of attorney it may be fine to use Legal Zoom for your document creation. They can create simple forms and probably not mess them up too bad. We will, of course, find out after you die how they did. The problem is, in my experience, if there is ANY level of complexity Legal Zoom is not the right answer.
The problem is you can not (or should not) hire your attorney based on cost. That’s simply the wrong way of doing it. Estate planning is a serious matter and one false move can create HUGE problems, cause tax implications, and even foster rifts in families.
I have told you before about a Legal Zoom will I had to probate a few years ago. The guy did not witness the will properly and thus his attempt at disinheriting his son would have failed had his son contested it. Beyond that it created a hugely complex testamentary trust for his nephew. The problem was it was a not a huge amount of money and his nephew was in his 60′s and retired law enforcement. Hardly a good case for a complex testamentary trust. However, when the decedent created the will with Legal Zoom that’s what he got.
Yesterday’s case was another simple Legal Zoom problem. The decedent got a trust a couple months before they died from Legal Zoom. As I always say anybody can create form documents… but knowing which form to use and how to put those forms into place is where the expertise of an experienced estate planning attorney come into play.
In yesterday’s case they failed to get the house put into the trust… and thus they were seeking the aid of an experienced probate attorney to do a Heggstad Petition. I get hired to do Heggstad petitions quite often and it usually is for cases like this; forms created by a non-expert! Maybe they use Legal Zoom, or a paralegal, or even a general practice attorney.
There is a reason people hire me, and other certified specialists, to do their estate planning. We are dedicated to our work. We are dedicated to getting your work done right. We are dedicated to seeing your case to the conclusion!
Don’t save a few bucks now… only to cost your family THOUSANDS (if not tens of thousands) later!
Zoom on over to us to help you with your California estate planning needs.