Feb 19, 2010

Frightening Fine Print

Frugality is a virtue, but estate planning is one area where it may be more of a vice.

Those "do-it-yourself" forms available at office supply stores and on the web will save you a few bucks. But if you can't be sure that your documents are legally sound and suited for your specific goals and situation, this discount approach can cost you a bundle in peace of mind. Plus your loved ones could be inheriting a massive legal headache.

But don't take my word for it. Below are the terms and conditions of use from one Internet based do-it-yourself will service. The lengthy disclaimer is typical of these services. The message is pretty clear: You're on your own, and don't blame us if you screw it up!

If this frightening fine print is not enough to make you head to a competent estate planning attorney, I don't know what is! Here goes:

Doyourownwill.com is not your attorney or legal service and does not practice law and does not give legal advice. The information provided at this site is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. This site is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, and by using doyourownwill.com, no attorney-client relationship will be created with Trial Data, Inc. or doyourownwill.com. The information provided at this site is provided with the understanding that doyourownwill.com and Trial Data, Inc. are not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services and the information provided.
This system is provided as a general service over the Internet and should not be construed as specific legal advice for any specific factual situation. The information on this site is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date. Because the law changes rapidly, Trial Data, Inc. and doyourownwill.com cannot guarantee that all the information on the site is completely current. The law is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and is also subject to interpretation by different courts. Each person’s situation is unique. If you feel that your particular needs require more specificity than provided with the simple will provided here, or if your specific problem is too complex to be addressed by our site, you should consult an attorney in your area.

This service is a publishing service, similar to books offering general legal advice and forms you can buy in a bookstore, and similar to legal forms available on disks available at office supply and computer supply stores. This will and all other forms provided through this service is meant to provide a guideline for common and standard situations.

The laws in different states vary, and if you have any doubt if this or any other form provided here is valid in your state, you should review the completed form with an attorney.

This site and some of the articles on this site contain links to other resources and businesses on the Internet. Those links are provided as citations and aids to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest, and are not intended to state or imply that our company sponsors, is affiliated or associated with, or is legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the links.

Trial Data, Inc and doyourownwill.com are not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this site or any site linked to this site, whether from errors or omissions in the content of our site or any other linked sites, from the site being down or from any other use of the site.

Does this sound like a bargain to you? To me it sounds perilous, a legal nightmare waiting to happen. So leave the bargain-hunting for the grocery store and the gas pump. For your estate planning, see a competent and experienced estate planning attorney.

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