Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More LegalZoom fun.

Get your will on the internet! Don't pay overpriced lawyers! Trust me! I defended OJ!!!

Lets take a snippet from a recently produced LegalZoom Will. And I quote:

"A. Appointment of my Personal Representative. I appoint _____________ as Executor of my estate. It is my intention, with clear knowledge of the consequences, that under no circumstances shall there be any independent administration of my estate." (emphasis added)

Let's think about this. You write a will, appoint an executor, but you do not want an independent administration. Why, ever, would this make sense? The whole point of having a will and naming an executor is FOR an independent, or un-court-supervised (read, CHEAPER) administration.

Before I get ahead of myself, yes, you can say whatever you want in a will. Yes, section 145 subparagraph O of the Texas probate code says:

 (o)  Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this
section, a person capable of making a will may provide in his will
that no independent administration of his estate may be allowed.  In
such case, his estate, if administered, shall be administered and
settled under the direction of the county court as other estates are
required to be settled.

What that means is that you can request a court-supervised, or "dependent" administration. Always an option. This can be useful in circumstances if you have Hatfield vs. McCoy type heirs, or if you have large debts and creditors, that can often be wiped out through the dependent administration process. But who knows this? Not many. Certainly not legal zoom consumers.

Kudos to legal zoom to being extensive enough in including this as an option. Shame on legalzoom for including this as an option that sounds like a good thing, without explaining that dependent administrations are more expensive, time consuming, and generally unadvisable.

Shame on me, for not inventing LegalZoom, making a better product, and reaping the ungodly profits. I will, however, continue to pick up the pieces of rubble from the chaos LegalZoom leaves behind.


  1. Is this for real? Getting an online will is too good to be true considering all those high-priced lawyers now who charge exorbitant rates per hour but I would gladly jump on this if there would be a realistic testimony that it works and has been proven. Thank you.

  2. Maybe you misunderstood my post. Yes, legalzoom and other programs do allow you to make your will online. I think this is an unauthorized practice of law, and should be invalid and illegal, but the courts, for the most part, have upheld documents created on legalzoom and other programs.

    I would greatly caution against using them however. The above example is one of many instances I have seen where a legalzoom will simply does not say what they wanted, or needed it to say.

    A simple will is not expensive.