5 Reasons You Should Never Buy Legal Documents Online
There has been a recent emergence of online legal sites that allow you to act as your own attorney. Click a few boxes, answer a couple of questions, and boom – you’re done. Your documents arrive in the mail a few days later, all at much lower cost. So, what’s the problem?
Well, consider the following before clicking the “submit” button:
Even in the most simplistic cases, online legal services can lead to horrible outcomes
It should be noted at the outset that sites like LegalZoom may not be state specific so that your documents could be completely ineffective in the state in which you live. Legal Zoom’s own disclaimer states that the information provided is “not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up to date.” A simple reading of this disclaimer shows how this is truly problematic and can lead to disastrous consequences.
If you use an online legal service to draft your Will by filling in some blanks, and a mistake is made of which you are unaware, it could completely change your intended bequests. Unfortunately, it will likely be too late to correct by the time the mistake is realized.
The “online attorney” is missing the human connection
Many times when I meet with clients, I listen to their stories, their situations and their struggles (which is all protected by the attorney-client privilege). There is undoubtedly a personal connection which is made.
From that connection, I am able to draw out information which may not seem significant to the client but may very well be in the eyes of the law. Clicking boxes and filling in blanks will never provide you the much-needed human component to most legal services. Not to mention that every client is different, and, at least in my office, would never fit into a boilerplate form.
It may not even be that much more inexpensive
It’s not necessary to find the most expensive attorney to perform those legal services which are found online. There are many solo practitioners who will draft a Will or create your LLC with equal quality for a fraction of the cost than what many large law firms charge. Also, spending a little more right now may save you significantly in the future.
If you have young children, it is possible for your attorney to draft a Will which will cover situations as your children grow older. Not so with an online legal service platform where you will likely be forced to bear the cost and hassle of constantly updating your documents.
Online legal sites can’t handle the grey areas
There are simple matters that can be handled online by an individual. Setting up an LLC, for example, is mostly basic question and answering which most can do on their own by visiting the Secretary of State’s website (click here).
However, issues like handling a deceased family member’s asset, selling a house or establishing a Trust are not so black and white. In these areas, the law is often grey. Attorneys know how to handle gray. Unfortunately for sites like LegalZoom, computers don’t do grey – computer’s only do black and white.
Reviewers are saying awful things about LegalZoom
Here are some of the things Consumer Affairs reviewers said about the service provided by LegalZoom
“I have used these guys 3 times and every single time they claim I agreed to sign up for extra things they charge for. They are buried in the terms and conditions and they argue with you to cancel or remove…” – Dana of New York City, NY
“After the documents were submitted to my state, I came to find out that they were flawed documents and got rejected. I contacted LegalZoom to correct this, and they told me I had to do it myself because they don’t do this.” – Luis of OKC, OK
“These folks do not have any knowledge of the business they are doing and all they want is your money. Worst customer service I ever seen.” – Venkat of Fairfield, CA