February 14, 2012
As you all likely know by now, Legal Zoom is a service that allows people to go online and have various legal documents prepared. Things like Last Wills, trusts, trademark applications, and various other documents. I have thought about what these services mean to the legal profession in general, and to me in particular.
And I finally came up with the answer. Legal Zoom does not mean a whole lot to my practice. What you get when you go to Legal Zoom is a document writer. When people come to me they get a whole lot more. They get the benefit of my education, the benefit of my experience, and the benefit of my knowledge of what can go wrong in the future. They get the benefit of my judgement. They get the benefit of my counsel. They get the benefit of legal advice. They get the benefit of an explanation of the difference between per stirpes and by representation and how the distinction can affect their descendants’ inheritances. They get the benefit of knowing that an unfunded living trust is about the most worthless document you can ever purchase.
I have seen Legal Zoom Wills and Trusts. And I have seen mine. The documents that I prepare cannot be found on Legal Zoom. My documents are customized and tailored to each client so that they fit each client’s situation. And I know that the advice I provide cannot be had on Legal Zoom. I am an estate planner, not a document writer. I am not in competition with Legal Zoom. Because what I provide Legal Zoom cannot.