Trust and Will vs. LegalZoom? Why we suggest neither…

When it comes to estate planning, finding quick and easy ways to create a living trust is a priority for many. Popular website services like TrustandWill and LegalZoom, as seen in commercials on TV, promise to simplify this process. However, it’s important to understand certain disclosures before using these services. While they provide some useful tools for estate planning these platforms are not law firms and do not operate with attorneys on staff for you.

Most aren’t Attorneys

When you use online services like TrustandWill or LegalZoom, you’re using platforms that fundamentally are not lawyers. Instead, they provide legal forms and document preparation services based on the information you provide. Although actual attorneys do work with LegalZoom to keep their forms up to date they do not represent you personally.

Many people see these services as cheaper alternatives to hiring an attorney or even an attorney’s assistant. However, the lower price often reflects the limited scope of guidance and personalized legal counsel available. This can be a significant problem, especially for something as important as estate planning.

For example, estate planning isn’t just about setting up a Trust; it involves deciding on the right type of Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Healthcare Directives. You may also have dependents like children, aging parents, or even pets. Furthermore, life changes such as marriage or divorce, buying or selling property or a second property out of state will require you to amend your Trust at some point in the future. These are critical considerations that require more customized legal advice than what online platforms can offer.

Work with an attorney dedicated to your estate plan

If you’re considering creating a California Living Trust or any other estate planning, working directly with a law firm that specializes in estate law is invaluable. Both TrustandWill and LegalZoom can help with certain processes but they can’t replace the personalized and professional legal advice that actual California attorneys can provide. “Can you set up a trust without an attorney?” Technically, yes but this could expose you to risks and problems you might miss without professional insight.

Estate planning is more than just filling out forms and submitting documents. It involves understanding complex legal rights, anticipating future issues, and tailoring plans to the unique needs of individuals and families. Only a dedicated attorney can provide the level of service and legal protection needed to ensure your estate is handled correctly, respecting your wishes and providing for your loved ones.

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