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What are the dangers of using a chatbot or other technology to make my will?

A taxation lawyer in South Australia has developed a chatbot that can automatically generate your will. The chatbot is named Ailira and already hundreds of people have used the bot to make an estate plan. For a fee, Ailira will ask the user a series of questions through text. This information is then collected and used to generate an automatic will or other estate planning document. While the chatbot offers ease of use, it raises some potential concerns as to the safety of a will created solely by a robot. Our New York wills and estate planning lawyers discuss the chatbot and hazards of DIY wills below.

Dangers of DIY Wills

Chatbots are just the latest in a series of technologies offering to create your will based on basic personal information. Other similar will generating technologies include LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, both which ask you information then automatically create a will. While these technologies can allow you to make a will at low cost and with minimal time commitment, they could leave you vulnerable to will challenges, extended probate times, and even invalidation of your will.

One of the greatest risks of a computer generated will is that it could later be found invalid. Each state has its own specific requirements for the creation and execution of a last will and testament. Should your computer generated will fail to meet state requirements, it will not likely be honored by the probate court. Your assets will then be subject to disposition by the court in accordance with the laws of intestacy.

Further, chatbot and computer created wills lack the legal knowledge of a professional estate planning attorney. Your estate planning attorney will sit down with you and carefully go over your assets, debts, and desires after your death in order to recommend the best estate planning options. A chatbot or computer program, on the other hand, will simply allow you the option to make a specific legal form then ask you basic information. As such, your estate could be subject to immense taxation. You could sign something that you did not fully understand. With your legacy on the line, seeking the assistance of an experienced (and human) attorney simply remains the wisest option.