We get a lot of calls and emails from potential clients who state that our fees for legal services are too high, and they will just go online and use one of the popular online document preparation services to prepare their Will at a faction of the cost. It is true that our fees are higher than the online document preparation services sites. However, what most people don’t consider is that we don’t just fill in the blanks to prepare your new Will. We use our extensive knowledge and experience to analyze each client’s personal situation, objectives and needs, and give advice and counsel relating to the best and proper way to handle their estate planning needs and objectives. Experience and expert counsel is what you are paying for, not just the preparation of a new Will or document.
Online document preparation services, like Legal Zoom, make it appear that the process of creating a Will is easy by simply filling in the blanks in a prepared document. However, a person’s individual circumstances and objectives play a big role in the kind of provisions that should be used. Specific language or provisions that would be good for one person’s Will could be disastrous in another person’s Will.
Further, Wills are not like contracts. Texas law requires that a person’s Will contain and be executed with certain formalities not found in general Texas contract law. As a result, we are seeing more self- prepared Wills being brought in by loved ones which are invalid under Texas law. This results in unexpected and unintended consequences, including distribution of the decedent’s property to people the decedent didn’t intend, and increased probate costs because there is no valid Will.
Seriously consider having your Will and other estate planning documents reviewed by an attorney, especially if self-prepared.