AI is a controversial topic in every industry, the legal industry included. AI tools now promise to generate an estate plan almost instantaneously. But using these tools not only puts you at risk for creating an invalid will, it puts your personal information at risk, too. Let’s take a closer look.

Your Will or Trust Must Be Legally Sound

For this post we’re focusing on generative AI – tools that “create” content in a flash after receiving a series of prompts. For those concerned about the cost of estate planning, these tools may seem attractive. But there are important considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, AI tools are trained on public data, so they’re generating your will or trust based on pre-existing information online. However, estate laws vary from country to country and state to state. Laws can also change from year to year. And of course, there’s no shortage of misinformation online. An AI-generated will may look official, but after your passing it may be deemed invalid.

Because of the way generative AI works, it’s also extremely high-risk to put personal information into an AI platform. Anything you enter could potentially become publicly available, shared in response to other users’ requests. And this can leave you vulnerable to fraud and impersonation scams.

Estate Planning Is an Emotional Process

Beyond these risks, remember that AI can’t account for your personal experience, unique family dynamic, and emotional wishes. An estate plan is so much more than contracts and numbers. It determines who will receive inheritance and who will look after your pets and your business, along with provisions should you become incapacitated. An estate plan reflects your values and your legacy.

It’s critically important, then, to create an estate plan with an experienced attorney. An attorney will be able to guide you through your legal options and ask essential questions – perhaps questions you hadn’t considered before. Don’t underestimate how emotional this process can be. Death is a hard topic for many. With an estate attorney, you’ll have a secure space to speak frankly, ask questions, and fully develop a plan that’s aligned with your wishes.

Additional AI Considerations

As generative AI continues to make headlines, it’s important to be proactive in protecting yourself and your estate. For example, though you may not use generative AI to draft your estate plan, a con artist would. There are far too many cases of mysterious “wills” – which later turn out to be fraudulent – appearing after a decedent’s passing.

There are a number of ways you can protect your will and trust, should your loved ones become victims of fraud after your death. One is to have all of your documents properly notarized, even if they’re not legally required to be. You may also wish to record yourself signing your estate plan with your witnesses and notary. Another option is to store your will securely, so it can’t be destroyed. Even if a fraudulent document were to be presented by a malicious party after your death, your loved ones will have the original to compare with in court.

And whether you’re creating an estate plan or you’re the personal representative of a loved one’s estate, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest AI threats. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently published an alert on voice cloning scams, where fraudsters clone an individual’s voice to carry out a host of schemes, including gaining access to bank accounts.

Though generative AI tools may claim to offer a quick and easy estate plan, it’s best to leave estate planning to a professional human. Our team will work with you to create a plan that’s legally secure and fully reflects your wishes.