Well it appears that with estate planning, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Some people found this out the hard way after using LegalZoom—a website that provides “do-it-yourself” kits for Wills, Trusts and other legal documents. You may have seen their commercials in which OJ Simpson’s former attorney, Robert Shapiro, acts as pitchman, claiming that almost anyone can use their documents.
However, after some customers fell for their too-low-to-believe prices and ordered living trust kits they discovered that the company offered almost no customization other than inputting their names and addresses, and failed to take personal circumstances and needs into account at all. They also claim that LegalZoom provides little to no actual attorney support for questions and concerns relating to these documents. These customers ended up having to pay a lawyer to fix all the problems with the LegalZoom documents so they would actually work when they were needed. Based on this and other claims of false advertising, a class action lawsuit was filed against the company seeking damages. An article describing the lawsuit in depth can be found here.
Proper estate planning should be tailored to a client’s individual circumstances, needs and goals in order to protect their family and hard-earned life savings. Anyone should be wary of a one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning or an off-the-shelf document. It’s unfortunate that hard-working people had to be duped by LegalZoom before realizing that you get what you pay for.