There’s a growing market for online legal documents and a large number of DIY legal forms available today; everything from DIY divorces, wills and trusts to agreements for businesses.
With the wealth of DIY information and online templates available, simple tasks seem easy to accomplish without assistance from a professional. However, it’s just as easy to quickly get in over your head and the consequences may be catastrophic.
Here are some of the most common ways that DIY in the area of the law may backfire:
The most significant danger with DIY kits is that you don’t receive personal advice tailored for your needs. For example, it is easy to overlook important legal clauses in the context of a simple will or trust. This could cost thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes or corrective attorney fees. The added difficulties of improperly drafted estate planning documents can also be an emotional burden. The same is true for every other area of the law. The DIY websites know this, which is why they have substantial legal disclaimers and universally recommend that you consult with an attorney.
The money that you initially save with online forms and templates will likely cost you more down the road should there be an issue. Meeting with an attorney first may ultimately save you from significant costs and expenses in the future.
Along with the extensive delayed legal fees which may result in using online legal forms and templates, you may lose valuable time. The time needed to manage a legal situation arising from improperly drafted documents will almost certainly exceed the value of any time you may have saved. Often, the stress on you and your family is incalculable.
In an age where self-help is becoming the norm, it is important to be mindful of the potential for unseen and unintended consequences before you make the decision to forego the advice of a professional.