Can Artificial Intelligence Programs Write Basic Estate Planning Documents?

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It's a new year, and perhaps your goal is to get your estate planning in order. With the increased coverage of artificial intelligence (AI) and all of the applications it can have in our everyday lives, some people may wonder whether an AI program can create an estate plan for them. While AI may be able to generate basic estate planning documents, including wills and trusts, there is no guarantee that they will be valid and enforceable. Providing accurate information and executing the documents in compliance with your state's laws is critical. Otherwise, your documents will not work as intended. Most people do not have the legal knowledge necessary to determine what clauses and language should be included in a will or trust to accomplish estate planning goals. They also are not familiar with state laws or how to comply with them. This is why people rely on experienced attorneys to prepare the necessary documents to carry out their wishes.

Artificial Intelligence and Estate Plan Drafting

Some state laws are complex and hard to understand, and you may not know enough specifics to offer the correct information about your situation or verify that AI has properly generated or created your will or trust. Additionally, your final documents may contain wording, formatting, and grammatical errors that make them unenforceable. To review them carefully, you have to know what to look for, which often requires that you possess a certain level of legal education and knowledge. The AI program does not understand your situation and will not help you solve a complex legal issue unless you can provide additional information. Even then, you should be cautious and ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well do I understand my options for protecting my money, property, family, or business if I have a medical emergency? What about after death?
  • Do I have a complex financial situation with large amounts of property, income, or debt?
  • Is my family structure complicated (family dynamics leading to questions about property or disinheritance)?
  • Am I undecided about my wishes (how to divide my money and property or what to include in an advance directive)?
  • Do I understand contingencies and when they kick in -- or what they cover?

Ease and Convenience versus Legal Expertise

Online estate planning programs that use artificial intelligence are designed to streamline or automate the process, making it more accessible and cost-effective for those on a tight budget. While they may provide convenience and accessibility, they provide limited guidance, and they do not offer the same level of customization, legal expertise, and personalization that an experienced estate planning attorney can provide.

You must carefully consider your needs and circumstances before choosing a reputable online estate planning program, such as one of the following:

  • Quicken WillMaker & Trust
  • Trust & Will
  • LegalZoom
  • Rocket Lawyer
  • S. Legal Wills

woman in front of open laptop with coffee next to her, hand on face in confusion looking for artificial intelligence estate planning informationEach program requires you to answer a series of questions in an attempt to tailor various legal documents, such as wills, trusts, advance directives, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents, based on the information you provide. You may have trouble providing accurate and specific answers for several reasons:

  • Legal Knowledge
    • Crafting precise answers to estate planning questions requires familiarity with legal terms, their context, and how they should be structured in a legal document.
  • Clarity
    • Vague or ambiguous answers can lead to inaccurate, incorrect, or inadequate documents for your situation.
  • Legal Requirments
    • Legal documents must adhere to specific formatting, contain specific language, and comply with legal requirements that vary by state and are not always straightforward.
  • Legal Concequences
    • Certain instructions or clauses within a document require predicting and avoiding potential legal issues; being unaware of the risks has adverse legal consequences.
  • Omissions
    • You may overlook critical details or legal considerations necessary to achieve your estate planning goals, resulting in incomplete or ineffective documents.

If you do not understand which estate planning strategies should be implemented to address your unique situation, how can you ensure that the artificial intelligence software is creating the appropriate documents for your needs? Legal professionals have the necessary expertise and training to ensure that your concerns are addressed and can implement an adequate estate plan so that your wishes can be legally carried out.

If you wish to use artificial intelligence estate planning programs, they can be used as an outline to begin the process. Take this information to an estate planning attorney to review and address the many situations you may not have considered regarding your unique family dynamics and financial circumstances. Legal experience and expertise offer valuable guidance and education. If you are ready to create a legally enforceable, customized estate plan, give our office a call to schedule an appointment.

Categories: Estate Planning