Legal Zoom Takes You How Far?
February 26, 2017 1:05 PM   Subscribe

I am interested in using Legal Zoom to fill out my Will, Living Will, and Power of Attorney. Legal Zoom offers a bundle that has you fill out forms to draw up all three documents. I'm asking people who have used this service, how much extra leg work is involved besides filling out forms on line? Details below.

I am about to purchase this service from Legal Zoom on line when I notice step four that comes after you print out the documents Legal Zoom has prepared. Step four says, "4. You execute the documents using the guide we provide to make it legally binding."

I'm sure it varies by state, but for anyone who used this service, what did this "executing of documents" consist of? Bonus points if you are from New Mexico!
posted by WalkerWestridge to Law & Government (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
IAL, IANANML & IANYL -- they're talking about making sure everything's properly signed and witnessed.

Unless your estate is quite small, I'd urge getting comparative pricing from a local wills-and-trusts lawyer. Many will have inexpensive package deals for people who want a standard arrangement. It's not that the forms used are so much better (although they are better), it's more about having confidence it was properly done (backstopped by the attorney's own insurance) and having someone on hand for your survivors to turn to if something terrible happens and then there's a problem with the estate.

Worth at least seeing what the local offerings are like.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:27 PM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


Nolo is good for double-checking this stuff. Basically it's about witnesses. They also talk about how to make your will "self proving" so witnesses don't have to be tracked down to verify signatures later. Most important thing, as you probably know, is make sure that SOMEONE knows about the existence of these documents so they can be found/executed when needed.
posted by jessamyn at 1:54 PM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


I just did this with LegalZoom. The basic process is fairly straightforward, but for some of the documents you'll need to round up witnesses and then get everyone to a notary.

With the understanding that I'm in Georgia, I had to do the following. Just to be clear, when a notary is required, you have to do that part in front of them - you can't get people to sign and then just show up and expect the notary to do their part after the fact. Also, your witnesses can't be anyone who will have a say in your health care or get anything from your estate.

1. Last Will: two witnesses and a notary
2. Advance Directive: two witnesses, no notary
3. Durable Power of Attorney: two witnesses (no notary for that part), signature of person who will be the attorney-in-fact, notary, verification that you are who you are, notary.

LegalZoom sends a lot of info about this, but I had to read it through a few times to completely figure out exactly who needed to do what and where.
posted by ralan at 3:02 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, basically, in most states (this is not legal advice! each state has its own idiosyncrasies!), you have two major will execution options:

(1) sign in front of two witnesses who know that this is your will;

(2) option (1), but also have everyone sign an affidavit in front of a notary (who then notarizes) which makes the will "self-proving," i.e., the two witnesses don't need to testify in probate court that they signed the will, as they would if you choose option (1)

Step (2) is more of a pain for everyone at the time, but less of a pain for everyone in probate, as it saves everyone a court appearance. If you don't know a notary, your bank should be able to provide one.
posted by praemunire at 3:35 PM on February 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


They will send you a letter in your final packet explaining what you will need to do and in what order to make the docs legal. It does vary by state. Some states do not have self-proving affidavits.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:36 AM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]


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