But think of it as an indication of the person's trust in you: He knew you would handle his estate the way he desired.
The process doesn't have to start immediately following a death, says Jennifer H.
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The online legal document business is booming as consumers have figured out that they can get everything from a will to a lease to a divorce for a fraction of the cost of visiting a lawyer. On Legal Zoom.com, the industry’s largest player with roughly 6% market share, you can download a basic will for as little as $69 and a real estate lease for $29.
Some experts, however, say using them could cost you money down the road, be ineffective in accomplishing your legal tasks, and even, in some cases, cause problems in court.
That’s a major selling point to many consumers: A typical legal services buyer makes about $25 per hour, according to a recent law review article, and many lawyers charge at least five times that. “Rarely can a canned document or form be sufficient and advisable,” said New York attorney Peter L. “Of course, lawyers start out using forms, but, in my experience there is almost always something special about the situation that requires the sophistication of an experienced lawyer.” (Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer and other sites will connect you with an attorney, usually for an additional cost.) Market Watch asked legal experts to evaluate the offerings.
They pointed toward four potential pitfalls of incautious use of downloaded documents.
The upshot: For relatively simple legal needs, these sites can be effective.