Call To See How I Can Help You 781-433-8665


Consumer Reports on do-it-yourself wills

Posted by Sasha Golden | Sep 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

The July issue of Consumer Reports had an interesting article (available on-line) on DIY will-drafting software, specifically, Quicken WillMaker, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer. The researchers created three different estate planning scenarios — nuclear family, blended family with a special needs child and single with a life partner– then plugged the facts into the software  (to the extent that the software allowed them to do so). The resulting documents were then reviewed by Prof. Gerry Beyer, one of the top trust and estates teachers in the country. The best will, which was produced by WillMaker for a nuclear family, was considered good overall, but the software also provided legally incorrect information about whether yet-unborn grandchildren could inherit. Otherwise, the results were adequate at best, and in at least one case, produced a will that was, in Prof. Beyer's words, “a gold mine for probate litigators.”

What's the takeaway? That these programs may be cheaper than a lawyer, but they are inadequate for all but the simplest situations. They won't catch the nuances and problems which an experienced estate planning attorney will identify. Last, the documents produced can result in some very unintended, unpleasant and likely expensive consequences that won't be felt until after you are dead

About the Author

Sasha Golden

Alexandra “Sasha” Golden received her undergraduate and law degrees from Boston College, and has been practicing law in Massachusetts since 1994. Attorney Golden is a long-standing member of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and of the Probate and So...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Golden Law Center Today

Golden Law Center is committed to answering your questions about elder law and estate planning issues in Massachusettes.

I'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Golden Law Center
(781) 465-6078 (fax)
Mon: 09:00am - 05:00pm
Tue: 09:00am - 05:00pm
Wed: 09:00am - 05:00pm
Thu: 09:00am - 05:00pm
Fri: 09:00am - 02:00pm

Disclaimer: The materials appearing on this website are provided for informational use only and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or the opinions of this law firm or any of its attorneys. You should never hire an attorney without first meeting with the lawyer, reviewing her qualifications, and carefully reading the fee agreement. The use of the material on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship, and you should not rely upon the information provided here without seeking the advice of an attorney. We also cannot guarantee that the materials appearing on this website are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date since the law is always changing.

This website must be labeled “advertising” according to the rules of professional responsibility established by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. This website may not meet the applicable laws or ethical rules in other states. Golden Law Center does not wish to represent persons living in those states who seek our representation as a result of viewing this website.

Links that may appear on this site are intended to provide additional sources of information and are not to be construed as being endorsements by the Golden Law Center or indications of affiliation. We do not imply that we are legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, symbol, logo, or seal that may be reflected in any of these links.