The Document Mentality – Legal Zoom

[image_frame style="framed_shadow" align="right" height="150" width="200"]/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Last-Will.jpg[/image_frame]I often have friends ask me, "Can't I just go to Legal Zoom and do a Will?" or "How much does it cost for a Will or a Trust?" Both of these questions reveal the mistaken belief that lawyers sell paper, and that its just a matter of getting the right "template" for the situation and then filling in the blanks. I suppose the thinking is that the better lawyers have better templates, or that more experienced lawyers know how to fill in the blanks more accurately or efficiently. Interesting concept.

The second question fascinates me the most because it is kind of like calling your doctor and asking him to tell you how much it would cost to make you well.... before undergoing a thorough medical examination. Most of us would laugh at that idea but we fail to apply that same logic when dealing with our lawyer.

Certainly you can go to Legal Zoom and do your own Will or Trust, but make sure that you consider some of the following when establishing your plan:

1.  How do I provide for children who are minors, or who are married to an "evil spouse," or who are careless with money, or who have special needs, or who have drug problem, or who have creditors or face the possibility of bankruptcy?

2.  How do I deal with a second marriage and ensure that my wife is protected and that my children are not accidentally disinherited?

3.  How do I provide opportunities for my children to obtain an education, or ensure that there are funds available for starting a business, getting married or for medical expenses?

4.  How do I handle closely held business interests or a family business?

5.  How do I maintain privacy and control in the event of my disability or death?

6.  How do I maximize tax credits and avoid paying more to the IRS than they are entitled to receive?

7.  How do I deal with real estate or assets that are owned in other states?

8.  How do I provide asset protection for myself and for my children?

9.  How do I provide for family members who may not get along with each other?

10.  How do I choose a person to make medical decisions for me, or to serve as an executor, trustee, or guardian?

[image_frame style="framed_shadow" align="left" height="150" width="200"]/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/senior-couple-meeting-with-agent.jpg[/image_frame]These are just a few of the issues which require strategies and solutions based upon your unique circumstances.  That's what lawyers sell - solutions, strategies and peace of mind.

Is that worth a conversation?