A recent Associated Press article noted that attorneys in Baltimore, Maryland have seen a marked increase in fiduciary litigation. In this context, the AP explained that litigation concerning trusts and estates has increased fivefold in the past five years. It went on to explain that a lot of this litigation emanates from middle class families, whereas in years past, this type of litigation would have been found primarily among wealthy people.
One of the causes behind this increase is the fact that more people are pulling wills off the Internet in an effort to avoid dealing with lawyers. The results of this are confusion, ambiguity and indefiniteness. Because these documents were not drafted by competent attorneys who could apply the right law to the particular fact situation, chaos ensues.
This is a good lesson for business owners as they ponder whether consulting with counsel is necessary. For instance, businesses that use employee handbooks that they “got off of the Internet” are begging for problems down the road. The AP article really quantifies that which seems logical.