Internet Forms — One Size Does Not Fit All.

It is common for clients to bring us powers of attorney, wills, divorce decrees, and other documents that they have prepared themselves, with help from sources they have found on the internet. It is very rare that these forms are done well and even more rare that they actually meet all of the client's needs. Here are some things to consider:

1. The laws of every state are different. What state's laws were considered when that internet form was drafted? If it wasn't Texas, then the odds that your form is all you need are very slim.  Many forms say that they are good in every state.  In our experience, this is almost never true.

2. The person who drafted that form never met you and doesn't know your needs. This is especially true in "do it yourself" divorce pleadings and decrees. No one can really draft a good decree of divorce for you, for example, unless they really know you and your situation. Did the website ask you about: your assets; your debts; how many children you have and their status; if you have any separate property or reimbursement claims, and; if you have any retirement plans or pension plans to be divided and what type of additional orders, if any, will be needed to make sure you get your portion. Did it ask you if you are a victim of domestic violence or if any of your children have a disability and will need support after they turn 18?

3. Many documents, especially those used in estate planning (wills, powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, directives to physicians) need to be signed in a certain way, with witnesses and before a notary. If they are not signed correctly, they may not be valid and you might not know this until they are rejected by a third party (like a bank) or challenged in a court proceeding.

We know and understand that folks want to keep costs low and that's why they try the "do it yourself" approach. However, it has been our experience that, in the long run, it is often less expensive and more efficient to retain an attorney with experience in the relevant area.