Legal Document preparation servicesWhy having a local, licensed attorney prepare your legal documents is a better choice than an online legal services company
ELegal document preparation services are companies that offer assistance with legal documents such as wills, trusts and other legal forms. Some of these companies also offer services ranging from business creation, divorce, name changes, leases and property deed transfers.
While these services may seem like a convenient and cost-effective alternative to hiring an attorney, there are several reasons why they may not be a good choice for those in need of legal assistance.
Lack of Legal Expertise: One of the biggest concerns with legal document preparation services is that they lack the legal expertise of an attorney. While these services may offer templates and instructions for completing legal forms, they are not licensed to practice law and cannot provide legal advice or guidance. This means that they may not be able to identify potential legal issues or provide guidance on the best course of action for a particular situation. In many cases, your documents are not prepared by licensed attorneys, but rather legal assistants, and a lawyer may only give each document a cursory review.
Limited Scope of Services: Legal document preparation services often have a limited scope of services, focusing primarily on a narrow range of legal forms such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney. While these forms are certainly important, they may not address all of the legal issues that a person may face over the course of their lifetime. For example, legal document preparation services may not be equipped to handle complex estate planning issues or business legal matters. In many cases, it is much more efficient to have a single attorney handle all of your legal matters so they can understand how one decision could affect your other legal needs or existing documents.
Even if a particular attorney you hire does not practice in a particular area of law you might need in the future, they often have colleagues in the same firm or know of other local attorneys who can help with almost any legal matter. This can ensure that you get comprehensive legal services from local professionals.
Lack of Personalization: Another concern with legal document preparation services is that they often lack the personalization that comes with working directly with an attorney. While these services may offer templates and instructions for completing legal forms, they do not provide the individualized attention and guidance that comes with working with an attorney. This may result in incomplete or inaccurate forms, or forms that do not fully address a person’s unique legal needs. In some cases, these services are taking the information you enter and simply entering it into a form as if it’s a “fill in the blank” test. Much of this can be done automatically by computers, with humans only giving the generated documents a quick review.
Potential for Errors and Omissions: Legal document preparation services rely on individuals to complete legal forms on their own, which can increase the risk of errors and omissions. If a form is completed incorrectly or incompletely, it may not be legally valid or may not fully address a person’s legal needs. This can result in significant legal and financial consequences down the line.
Lack of Accountability: Finally, legal document preparation services may lack the accountability that comes with working with an attorney. While attorneys are held to ethical and professional standards, there are few regulations or oversight mechanisms in place for legal document preparation services. This can make it difficult to hold these services accountable if something goes wrong or if a person is dissatisfied with the services they received.
Overall, while legal document preparation services may seem like a convenient and cost-effective alternative to hiring an attorney, they may not be the best choice for those in need of legal assistance. With limited legal expertise, a narrow scope of services, and a lack of personalization and accountability, these services can increase the risk of errors and omissions and may not fully address a person’s unique legal needs. Instead, it may be best to work directly with an experienced attorney who can provide the legal expertise and guidance needed to navigate complex legal issues and ensure that legal documents are completed accurately and effectively.
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