Estate planning and artificial intelligence (AI): Can I use ChatGPT to Write My Will and other legal documents?

can chatGPT write a will

Disclaimer: This article discusses estate planning.  It is intended for the purposes of providing information only and is to be used only for the purposes of guidance. This article is not intended to be relied upon as the giving of legal advice and does not purport to be exhaustive.

It seems that you cannot go anywhere without hearing about ChatGPT. From news articles to social media discussions, this groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) tool has captured the attention of individuals across various industries. 

Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT advances natural language processing, allowing users to interact with AI-generated text in a remarkably human-like manner.

With its widespread popularity, many have considered its potential applications, including its use in drafting legal documents such as wills. This article will examine the limitations and legal considerations associated with using ChatGPT to write your will.

Can I use artificial intelligence to draft my will? 

Yes. Technically, it will spit out a valid last will and testament. 

Should I use ChatGPT to write my will? 

Now, there’s a better question.

So, we asked ChatGPT for its opinion.

It said: “While I can certainly assist you in drafting a will based on the information you provide, it’s important to consult with a legal professional or estate planning attorney to ensure that your will conforms to all legal requirements and reflects your specific wishes accurately. Writing a will is a serious legal matter, and it’s essential to have expert guidance to ensure that your wishes are carried out properly and that your will is legally valid in your jurisdiction. If you have any further questions or concerns about the will drafting process, please feel free to ask.” 

We agree. While typing a prompt into a program like ChatGPT would be much easier, it cannot give legal advice or apply complex legal principles like an experienced legal professional can. 

The problems with generative AI

While AI models like ChatGPT may potentially replace some aspects of legal work, they cannot fully replace human lawyers in all scenarios.

ChatGPT can be inaccurate. 

One of the main concerns with using generative AI, such as ChatGPT and other chatbots, for legal documents is the potential for inaccuracies.

ChatGPT 3.5, for example, says that it has been trained on vast amounts of data, but only data up to January 2022. It does not reflect the latest legal updates and understandings of how the courts handle different legal matters. 

In other instances, ChatGPT can also give completely wrong information. A lawyer in British Columbia found that out the hard way. She filed an application that referenced two cases found to be entirely fictitious. As it turned out, they were fabricated by ChatGPT.

The point is that any information produced by ChatGPT needs to be checked very carefully to ensure its accuracy.  

ChatGPT does not ask you questions. 

Part of our process when preparing your will is asking several questions to understand your final wishes. We want to understand your family dynamics, financial situation, and any specific concerns you may have.

However, ChatGPT is simply an AI language model. It cannot engage in meaningful dialogue, ask clarifying questions, or know what information to look for to get details about your unique circumstances. This means that using AI will give you a generic document. It may be legally binding but will not reflect your wishes. 

Because of this, your final documents can have serious oversights or omissions, as important details may not be fully considered or addressed.

For example, when creating a will or trust, we typically ask probing questions to ensure that all aspects of your estate documents are adequately addressed, including beneficiary designations, potential conflicts among family members, and tax considerations. 

ChatGPT does not consider tax implications. 

Another significant part of our process is considering the tax implications for your estate. This can greatly impact how your assets are distributed and what you can leave behind for your beneficiaries.

A qualified solicitor, working in tandem with your financial planner or another financial professional, would carefully evaluate your financial situation and goals to develop strategies to lower your estate’s tax bill. By coordinating with these professionals, your attorney can create legally compliant documents that reflect your wishes and integrate seamlessly with your financial strategy.

The legal risks of AI-generated legal writing  

As we can see, tools like ChatGPT leave you open to many legal risks.

A poorly written will that lacks clarity may be challenged by your beneficiaries. Because your wishes were unclear, they could tie up your estate in litigation for years. This delays the distribution of your assets and creates unnecessary stress and financial burden for your loved ones.

Your estate could face an unnecessarily high tax bill because those implications were not considered. Without careful planning and attention to tax implications, your estate may be subject to avoidable taxes, reducing the amount available for distribution to your beneficiaries. This oversight can significantly impact the financial well-being of your loved ones and undermine your intended legacy.

Finally, it could create documents that are not even valid. Legal documents generated by AI may lack the necessary legal language or fail to meet Ontario’s formal requirements for wills. If that is the only will available and deemed invalid, your assets may become subject to intestacy laws. 

Although ChatGPT can help you streamline your estate planning process, it is a clear case of pennywise and pound foolish. The implications can have a serious negative impact on your estate and your loved ones.

Beeksma Law: Providing Strategic Estate Planning 

While the possibilities of AI technology within the legal industry are interesting, we must recognize the value of personalized, strategic legal guidance from experienced professionals. When it comes to your wills and estates, nothing can replace human intelligence, and the risks are too great to leave to chance. You need a qualified legal professional to provide the expertise and support you need. 

At Beekma Law, our law firm has a proven track record of excellence in estate planning. Our team of qualified attorneys focuses on estate law and can appreciate the nuances of this area of law. Notice how one of our clients felt after we prepared her family’s wills: 

They made it really straightforward to know what decisions we needed to make, guidance on what to do and were always available and willing to answer any of our questions.

We feel so much better now, knowing that if anything happens, our son is protected. Hopefully we don’t have to use them anytime soon, but it’s nice to have that peace of mind that we have proper documents in place.

If you need to create your wills and powers of attorney, contact our team today!  We are happy to use our legal expertise to help you and your family.

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