It is not surprising that we have critics of our service; after all, we are offering a convenient, educational tool, that allows you to write a Will, Power of Attorney and Living Will. We allow you to make unlimited updates to your documents for a tiny fraction of the cost of going to a legal professional and in most cases, the final document looks identical to one costing ten times as much. One of the criticisms of the service is that you can go wrong and create a Will that doesn’t make sense. I would like to address this criticism head-0n.
We actually raise the very same concern with the blank form kits that you can buy from a bookstore. These kits consist of blank pieces of paper, with a guidebook that tells you how to write a Will. We’ve addressed the issue of these blank form kits in a previous blog post, and they are a terrible idea. It is almost impossible to write a well drafted Will using a kit; you have to cover alternate scenarios, include appropriate Executor clauses, only doing things that are legally permitted, and the kit must be tailored to your local jurisdiction. Our service on the other hand, interactively guides you through the process, offering help along the way, and restricts inputs based on your family situation, legal jurisdiction, and the law.
I had a conversation recently with somebody who was concerned that they were permitted to put bad answers in for questions; for example, they named a charity that did not have charitable status, but were not given a warning. They also named an Executor who was not living in the same jurisdiction, but were not warned that this was not advisable. Information about both of these issues is actually covered in the online help, but there is no hardcoded restriction in entering poor choices.
I feel it’s worth explaining our position though with respect to allowing people to enter bad answers;
- The service is available as a tool to prepare one’s own Will. Just like using online tax preparation software, it does rely on you entering the correct information. If you have three children but claim to have two, we do not check that (but neither do most legal professionals).
- We do provide information in the accompanying pop-up help text, available on every page. We encourage people to read this text, but we do not force people to read it, otherwise the interaction with our service would be painful.
- We cannot give specific advice for specific individuals; this would be offering legal advice which we are not permitted to do. We can only give general guidance, so we are not allowed to check everybody’s specific answers to every question.
- Sadly, the vast majority of people do not have a Will. We have created a service that allows people to finally stop procrastinating and make sure that their family and loved ones are taken care of. It does however require some common sense to use it.
It really isn’t difficult to prepare one’s own Will which is why the services at LegalWills.ca, LegalWills.co.uk and USLegalWills.com are becoming increasingly popular. You can create a nonsense Will if that is your intent, however, you can also create a completely legal Last Will and Testament, and learn a little about the process along the way.