Advertiser Disclosure We earn a commission from partner links on StartupWise. Commissions do not affect our opinions or evaluations.

Estate Planning with LegalZoom – Review, Pros & Cons, Features


Table of Contents

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning organizes how your assets and affairs will be handled during your life and after you pass away. It involves deciding who will inherit your belongings, caring for your finances and health decisions if you cannot, and looking after your minor children. Essentially, estate planning is about making sure your wishes are known and carried out when you can no longer manage these things yourself.

Key Components of Estate Planning

  1. Will: A document that states how you want your assets distributed after your death.
  2. Trusts: Arrangements that allow a third party to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries.
  3. Power of Attorney: A legal document allowing someone to act on your behalf for financial or health decisions.
  4. Healthcare Directive: Instructions for medical care if you cannot make decisions yourself.
  5. Guardianship Designations: Naming who will care for your minor children if you can’t

Why is Estate Planning Important?

Estate planning is crucial for several reasons:

  • Avoid Probate Court 

Probate is the legal process of distributing your assets after you die. It can be lengthy and expensive. By planning your estate, you can often avoid or simplify probate, ensuring your loved ones get their inheritance faster and with fewer legal fees.

  • Ensure Your Wishes are Followed 

Without a plan, the state decides how to distribute your assets according to its laws. Estate planning ensures your belongings go to the people and causes you care about.

  • Minimize Burden on Loved Ones

Handling an estate with a plan can be easy and clear. Estate planning helps your loved ones by clearly outlining your wishes, making it easier for them during a difficult time.

  • Protect Your Children

If you have minor children, estate planning lets you choose who will be their guardian if something happens to you. This decision is too important to leave to chance.

  • Manage Taxes

Proper estate planning can reduce the taxes that your estate owes, leaving more for your heirs.

Using LegalZoom for Estate Planning

LegalZoom is an online platform offering various legal services, including estate planning. Here’s a closer look at how LegalZoom works for estate planning and the pros and cons of using this service.

Features of LegalZoom

  • Affordable Services

LegalZoom is known for its cost-effective legal solutions. Estate planning services are significantly cheaper than hiring a traditional attorney.

  • Convenient Online Process

You can complete your estate planning documents online from the comfort of your home. LegalZoom guides you through each step, making it user-friendly even for those who aren’t tech-savvy.

  • Attorney Support

LegalZoom offers packages that include consultations with an attorney. This support can be helpful if you have questions or need legal advice.

  • Document Review

Some LegalZoom plans include having an attorney review your documents to ensure they’re correct and complete.

  • Customization

LegalZoom allows you to customize your estate planning documents to fit your specific needs, ensuring your wishes are clearly stated.

Pros of Using LegalZoom

  • Cost-Effective

LegalZoom is much more affordable than traditional estate planning with an attorney, making it accessible to more people.

  • Convenience

You can complete the entire process online, at your own pace, and from anywhere. This is especially beneficial for those with busy schedules or limited access to legal services.

  • Guidance

LegalZoom provides step-by-step instructions and support, making the process straightforward and less intimidating.

  • Legal Expertise

With certain plans, you get access to attorneys who can answer your questions and review your documents, providing a layer of legal expertise.

Cons of Using LegalZoom

  • Not Ideal for Complex Estates

LegalZoom might not be sufficient if your estate is complex, has large assets, has business interests, or has unique family situations. Complex estates often require personalized legal advice that only an experienced attorney can provide.

  • Limited Legal Advice

While LegalZoom offers attorney consultations, it’s not the same as having an attorney dedicated to your case. This service might be lacking if you need detailed, ongoing legal advice.

  • Self-Service Limitation

LegalZoom’s platform is designed for self-service, meaning you must input and manage your information correctly. Mistakes can happen; without thorough legal knowledge, it’s easy to overlook important details.

  • Jurisdictional Differences

Estate planning laws vary by state. LegalZoom aims to cover these differences, but there’s always a risk that state-specific nuances might not be fully addressed in a standardized online process.

Is LegalZoom Right for You?

LegalZoom can be an excellent choice for those with straightforward estate planning needs. LegalZoom provides an affordable, convenient, and user-friendly way to create essential documents like wills, trusts, and powers of attorney if you have a relatively simple estate.

However, investing in a traditional attorney might be worthwhile if your estate is more complicated or you prefer personalized legal advice. An experienced estate planning attorney can offer tailored advice and solutions, ensuring all aspects of your estate are properly managed.

Related Articles

Submit Your Email to Download Freebies