Can I Use a Computer or AI to Write My Will?

For many, a New Year’s Resolution may be to finally create your “Estate Plan.” You might be curious about using artificial intelligence “AI” or platforms such as Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer, or similar online services to write the plan for you. While these tools are accessible and cost-effective (in the short term), it’s important to recognize more is required. 

Believe it or not, to ensure these documents are legally valid and aligned with your intentions, you need a human! This human should have a strong grasp of all estate plan concepts, potential pitfalls, and your state’s law. 

Ask yourself:

  • How well do I understand options to protect my money, property, family, or business if I have a medical emergency, a short- or long-term incapacity, or after death?
  • What is my financial situation regarding property, income, or debt?
  • Is my family structure complicated?
  • Am I undecided about my wishes (how to divide my money and property, when to distribute it, or what to include in an advanced directive)?
  • Will my family get along if my will is unclear?  
  • Will someone inherit before they understand the value of their inheritance? 
  • What if your adult child is on the brink of divorce, will the soon-to-be ex-spouse receive anything from an inheritance?
  • Errors That Make Online Documents Unenforceable 

The following are common mistakes in online documents that may require a court to interpret them or lead to fighting among your loved ones:

Ambiguity in wording. Imagine a will states: “I leave my property to my children” without specifying which children by name.  This could lead to a family feud if you have three kids and the AI-written will doesn’t clarify which children will inherit.

Improper use of legal terms. Let’s say an AI-generated will uses the term “heirs” instead of “beneficiaries.” This misuse of legal terminology might lead to unintended consequences. For example, distant relatives or even creditors could potentially claim a share of the estate as “heirs.”.

Inconsistent terminology. Using different terms to refer to the same asset (e.g., house, residence, homestead, property) may create confusion about what is being inherited.

Improper witnessing and notarization.  Imagine the chaos if your estate ends up in court because the will wasn’t correctly witnessed and notarized.

Lack of clarity in distribution. Vague instructions regarding who will receive your accounts and property or how they will receive them, such as “divide my estate fairly among my children,” may cause disputes if there is no clear definition of terms like fairly.

Failure to address contingencies. Not accounting for contingencies, such as what to do if a beneficiary predeceases you is a problem we see quite often. If the Online Will doesn’t specify an alternate beneficiary, asset distribution would be subject to state law.

Inadequate powers of attorney. Failing to designate agents for financial or medical decision-making authority, creates complications during incapacity and may require your loved ones to get a court involved.

Online programs can’t handle all these considerations. An experienced “human” Estate Plan Attorney will counsel you and design personalized and legally sufficient documents, specific to your family’s needs, ensuring your wishes are met while preventing disputes.  Keep your New Year’s Resolution and finish your plan to protect your family in 2024 and beyond!

Andrea L. Jakob, PA is located at 12401 Orange Drive, Suite 219 in Davie.
They can be reached at 954-862-1479 or on the at