Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) seems to be everywhere these days. Since the release of Chat GPT and other AI technologies, people have increasingly turned to AI to help with everyday tasks. The use of AI in industries like healthcare, finance, customer service and retail is increasingly being explored. It is only natural that we start thinking about the influence of AI in law.
One trend that seems to be rising is the use of AI in creating a Will. But can you really trust AI to create your Estate Plan?
Taking time and putting in the work to map out your estate plan can be tough, so it’s only natural that people are exploring a quick fix through the use of AI. But, there’s many reasons why an AI-generated Will could end up causing you more than a few headaches.
Estate planning is more than just making a list of which person you want to get which piece of property. Anyone, including AI, can draft a quick list allocating property to people. The danger is that this type of Will, without the proper legal advice guiding it, will be subject to challenges such as a wills variation claim or that it could create an unexpected tax liability. Ultimately, it may end up costing you or your family more money and mess in the long run.
British Columbia is a unique jurisdiction where the Wills, Estates and Succession Act allows the deceased’s spouse and children to apply to vary a Will if it does not make an adequate provision for them. These types of proceedings are common place in British Columbia. They often lead to costly legal fees and even worse, bitter disputes among family members. In our common law system, the law evolves constantly with the emergence of new case law precedents.
AI Wills are generalised and not tailored to your specific jurisdiction or your specific family or financial circumstances. AI cannot provide you with personalised legal expertise to identify where your Will may be subject to challenges or Wills variation the way an estate planning lawyer can. The information that AI uses to generate a Will uses old and likely outdated information, and not specific to the laws in your jurisdiction.
AI technology can generate a Will in a few minutes, but it cannot fully appreciate the dynamics of family relationships or anticipate future events. A one size fits all Will is not going to account for the complexities and personal and legal obligations that come with a blended family or beneficiaries who have disabilities, for example. AI is not going to be able to recommend where a trust or inter vivos gift may be more appropriate or recommend other wealth preserving tax strategies. This could end up costing your estate a hefty price.
Creating an estate plan also means sharing sensitive information about your finances and family relationships. Data security is a huge issue when it comes to using AI. A data breach could offer your sensitive information to cyber criminals. A lawyer will ensure all your information is well protected and confidential.
Lawyers provide a personal touch that AI simply can’t. Estate planning is an often emotional process where a person must evaluate and consider their personal relationships. Lawyers work with you to understand your personal and financial goals to find the best suited estate plan for your needs – one that is not susceptible to challenges or unexpected tax liabilities. A lawyer will sit down with you and explain the implications of your estate plan on your family and friends so that you can be assured that the hard work that went into building your financial success will continue to support your loved ones long into the future.
The development of AI brings great potential to make our lives easier, and perhaps in the future it could be a useful tool in information gathering to assist in estate planning. But the technology will likely never be a replacement for the personalised and expert approach to estate planning a lawyer brings to the table. It’s just not worth the risk.
For more information or assistance in developing your estate plan, please contact any member of our estate planning team.
This article is intended to be an overview of the law and is for informational purposes only. Readers are cautioned that this article does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. Rather, readers should obtain specific legal advice in relation to the issues they are facing.