Archive for February, 2010

The internet is the greatest invention yet.  You can find anything on the internet, merely if you have the patience to look for it.  Often I am asked by my clients if they should use forms and other documents provided for free on the Internet to create legal forms, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, basic contracts and more.

An attorney can’t tell you whether you should or should not use what is readily available on the internet, but as a consumer, you should always use caution and make sure you fully understand what you are doing.

Creating Legal Forms to Help a Friend Considered the Unauthorized Practice of Law

A woman asked her friend to help her prepare a will.  The friend found a will in the internet, and filled in the blanks provided.  The friend was named as executor of the estate.  The woman subsequently died and her will was admitted to probate.  In Franklin v. Chavis, 640 S.E.2d 873 (S.C. 2007), the court found that the testatrix was not involved in drafting the document and did not review it. Further, the court held that the friend had acted as more than a scrivener and had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. The friend also drafted a power of attorney for the testatrix that did not involve filling in blanks in a form and this, too, was the unauthorized practice of law. The court also determined that the friend could not receive compensation for acting as the executor.

In addition to the loss of compensation to the executor, this person was subject to legal action for the unauthorized practice of law.  The cautionary tale here is to remember that sometimes helping a friend out, and providing them with legally enforceable agreements, opens the door to future legal action.  You should always consult with a licensed attorney prior to creating, filling out, or drafting any legal documents.

Do you want to create a will?  If so, please contact the Law Offices of Daniela Lungu at (925) 558-2710 or email info@lungulaw.com.

Do you want a specific topic discussed in this blog? If so, please contact us at info@lungulaw.com with your suggestions.

About Daniela Lungu, Attorney at Law

Daniela Lungu, founder of the Law Offices of Daniela Lungu, devotes her law practice to asset protection through estate and business planning. Ms. Lungu’s goal is to provide the people of the Bay Area and California with the highest quality, and most personalized legal services possible. Her attention to detail and a high level of communication with her clientele distinguish her from other attorneys in the field.

 


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