Wills and Trusts – a Legal Product or Legal Service?

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The questions about creating and drafting your own wills and trusts just keep coming. In the technical age, where clients are savvy and used to instant gratification and purchasing on the web, it seems logical that people would want to buy wills and trusts from a website or create them themselves. But, we hear or read stories all the time about the problems with this approach. Fox Business Report ran an article today about Ann Aldrich who purchased a will form and filled it out. Subsequently, she made a handwritten change, known as a codicil, to the will. Unfortunately, neither the will nor the codicil properly addressed circumstances that had changed in Ann’s life and the codicil did not meet the necessary legal formalities required by the State where she lived at the time of death. Although the court understood Ann’s intent, because the documents were not drafted properly, the property was not distributed as Ann intended. Read: Do-It-Yourself Wills: Cheap Now, Expensive Later?

Although there are people who say that wills and trusts are just products, they are not. Lawyers provide legal services based upon years of schooling and practice. When you see a lawyer about drafting a will or trust, you are not buying a product, you are buying their service, education and expertise. Sometimes, it is far more expensive to DIY then it is to pay for competent service up front. I’m sure Ann would agree.


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