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There are many web sites offering do-it-yourself wills online.  Although these legal form sites offer quick low cost legal documents and wills, they are not law firms and cannot provide true legal services, such as legal advice.  A few years ago, your only alternative to a do-it-yourself will was to hire an attorney to prepare the documents for you.

Today, there is another choice - the virtual law office

Brick and mortar law offices are beginning to offer unbundled legal services online. Virtual law firms offer the best of both worlds: giving you the power to create a legally sound document with the guidance of an attorney practicing in your state, while keeping costs low.

The virtual law firm may provide the client with the speed and low cost of a will prepared online coupled with attorney review and legal advice. For rates comparable to those charged by document preparation only websites, you can get a will which has been prepared by an attorney in your state and have your legal questions answered as well.  Some virtual law firms will even review your will after it has been signed for proper execution.

After all, a will is an important legal document that contains your instructions and wishes for distributing your property after you die. Your will also allows you to name the personal guardian you trust to care for your minor children if you and your spouse should die.  Your will should be written carefully and in compliance with the laws of your state. If you make a mistake on your will, it may not be discovered until it's too late.

Keep in mind, that some situations are too complex for even a virtual law firm. Online legal services should never be used for sophisticated estate planning.  If you are a high net worth individual or have beneficiaries requiring special needs, you should consult with an estate planning attorney in your area.

The Pros and Cons of Using the Services of a Virtual Law Firm

If you are looking to save money and side step the need to take the time out to visit an attorney, then the virtual law firm may be right for you.  Virtual law firms usually communicate with you through the Internet, by e-mail and by telephone.  Providing their services virtually, they are able to keep legal  fees low.  Virtual law firms offer 24 hour accessibility and convenience.  Saving you time and money since you don't have to take time away from work to go to their offices.

Lawyers must keep any communications with the client confidential and are required to avoid any conflicts of interest.  Most virtual law firms use the SSL protocol, which is the most secure method of transmitting information over the Internet.  Today's technology assures  trustworthy, private, and secure services.

Lawyers must comply with all of the professional rules that apply to members of the their State Bar and the Bar regulates the services they provide. On the other hand, a legal forms web site offered by a non-law firm is not regulated.  If there is a problem, you have no recourse.

On the other hand . . .

Online legal services are not suited for every situation. Very complex matters are best handled by traditional legal services.  For example, if you require sophisticated estate planning or are providing for an disabled individual, you should retain the services of an experienced attorney in your area.  The client must be willing and able to perform some of the tasks usually attended to by law firm personnel. For instance, the client will be required to have his or her Will properly executed after it is drafted.  Also, a client may have to file documents with the court.

Virtual representation is less personal - no person to person contact.  Some clients may miss meeting with their attorney face to face.  Virtual law firms are restricted to certain types of law and can't deliver 100 percent of legal services electronically.

“Having your Will or other legal documents reviewed by an attorney is a better option than buying un-reviewed self-prepared documents. Virtual law firms are the wave of the future as it's hard to dispute the fact that electronic delivery of legal services is cost-effective and convenient for clients.”

Author: Rudolf J. Karvay

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