I’ve posted the video of my journey through LegalZoom in my quest to draft and purchase an online Will, for a total price of $71.95 (price includes $2.95 for printing and shipping). The journey is part of an experiment to determine how an online forms business works and then to compare that process with obtaining a will more “traditionally”: that is, sitting down with an attorney to draft a Will for me [See prior post in this series here]
The video is somewhat lengthy (18 minutes), but I find it interesting and at times fascinating, not so much for what it does but for what it does not do – advise me on my choices (other than to highlight, for example, that 85% of respondents on other LegalZoom Wills answered a question a certain way).
As an attorney, I like to think of myself as an educated consumer, particularly with legal services, but the video will show you how easy it is, even for me, to make what likely amounts to fairly significant mistakes. How? Well, as a consumer (not a client), I’m more apt to ‘buy’ or add certain features if it is as easy as a click, such as providing for a trust for my pet, or appointing a guardian for my cat (apparently these are not recognized in Minnesota).
Moreover, because I have what people call a ‘blended’ family, I’m concerned that the Will I ultimately built did not adequately provide for that specific scenario. In the video, you’ll see that I sought to appoint a guardian for my oldest son by naming his mother. It’s likely that scenario, which did not appear to allow for exceptions, ultimately appointed my former wife as the guardian of my younger son, instead of appointing my current wife. We’ll have to wait to see what the Will ultimately says. Was I aware of this mistake when I made the Will by answering the questions? No. It’s only after considering it further that I realized that the program likely did not get it right.
Once I completed the purchase, I received three e-mails from LegalZoom, one of which informed me that:
Your LegalZoom Last Will and Testament has been assigned to a document specialist and will be prepared within two business days. We will contact you if clarification of your order is required. This may result in longer processing time.
So, I”m now waiting for a “document specialist” to review my answers and send my $69.00 Will on to me. It’s hard to imagine the “document specialist” has any discretion to review the answers and the ultimate Will, particularly to suggest changes or seek “clarification.” To me, suggesting changes or even flagging potential issues enters into the realm of the practice of law, which in this case would likely be unauthorized. But, we’ll see. Again, stay tuned.