To Zoom or Not to Zoom a Living Trust

We’ve all heard the claims that we’re an instant gratification society.  We drive thru windows for sustenance, find our new homes virtually without crossing the threshold and diagnose our ailments with the help of our handheld devices.  So why then would it not make sense to use a quick and easy online service to create some of our most important legal documents?  

While the rhetorical question may have satisfied its own query let me offer a few supporting arguments for the benefits of substantial, real and comprehensive.  First, fast food is cheap and convenient but it’s notoriously unhealthy and not meant to make up the basis of nutrition.  Second, a picture is worth a thousand words but sometimes the picture doesn’t tell the whole story.  And lastly, while you might be able to cure a simple stomachache, would you really want to bet your life on the idea that you didn’t overlook a more serious problem.

There’s no point in trying to bombard you with clichés, or instill you with doubt and fear about the process.  The point is to educate you and help you understand what is involved with the quick fixes of the world.  The following is an excerpt from the Disclaimer on LegalZoom, “We are not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. We cannot provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.”

In the spirit of thoroughness I attempted to create a Living Trust online.  The questions that were posed to me were straightforward, however on occasion my answers were not.  If I had been a single person with one beneficiary, the online version probably would have provided sufficiently for my estate planning needs.  However, what if I was a divorced woman who owned property with my ex husband as well as my brother and wanted to designate my best friend as my children’s guardian.  While I’m sure the support staff would have made an effort to help me through those questions, the system was not set up to deal with these anomalies.      

There are a variety of benefits to dealing with a live attorney when discussing your estate planning needs.  They provide comprehensive tailored help to address all of your unique needs.  They ask pertinent questions and take time to understand all of the nuances of your case.  And in the end the best of them provide substantial legal advice, explanations of the consequences of your choices and make appropriate recommendations.  We may very well be a society of instant gratification, but sometimes there is no substitute for the real thing. 

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.