The Role of AI in Estate Planning: Benefits and Limitations

June 20, 2024

As AI increasingly becomes part of our everyday lives, individuals and families are exploring the use of AI programs to prepare estate plans. The answer to whether AI can be used for this purpose is, of course, yes. AI programs, similar to other online tools and software, can assist in creating basic wills and other estate documents. However, while it might seem easy and cost-effective, these programs can’t offer the expertise of an experienced estate planner. Furthermore, you may need more personalization than basic templates provide. It might not be cost-effective in the end if the plan doesn’t work as intended, potentially costing more to rectify mistakes from a poorly executed estate plan.

State-Specific Estate Planning Laws

Estate planning laws differ from state to state. Often, documents prepared online are unenforceable for various reasons. States have different requirements for executing or signing documents. Some documents need to be notarized, some need to be witnessed, and some require both. If there is ambiguous language in a will, it might lead to a will contest claim, resulting in litigation. Similarly, if distribution requirements are not clearly stated, the will might not be valid or could be contested. During an individual’s life, if financial and medical power of attorney (POA) documents are not prepared properly, court involvement will be necessary to appoint a guardian. This can be expensive and public, ensuring someone has authority to make decisions on your behalf. The probate court could appoint a guardian the individual does not even know.

The Limitations of AI in Estate Planning

AI cannot “read the room.” Often, estate planning involves sensitive issues for the individual or family. Understanding and explaining the nuances of a Living Will in determining end-of-life decisions, for instance, may not be communicated appropriately. Similarly, one of the benefits of creating a trust is the flexibility that trusts offer during and after one’s life. A templated document from a website cannot provide the flexibility that an experienced estate planner can ensure is prepared appropriately under the law.

The Role of Attorneys in Estate Planning

An AI program will require you to answer a questionnaire, similar to a lawyer. However, the lawyer can interpret and analyze your answers, ask for clarification as needed, and provide experienced counsel and recommendations. For an AI program, if your answers are vague, your documents may not be accurate for your situation, leading to legal consequences, and you might omit crucial information needed to ensure your intentions are met. Without an experienced attorney reviewing your documents, you may never know if your documents will be valid and operate according to your wishes.

When to Consult an Estate Planning Attorney

When a basic online will won’t meet your needs, consulting with an estate planning attorney is advisable. Consider the following common situations which require more advanced planning:

  • Special Needs Planning: A special needs trust can provide ongoing supplemental needs support for an individual with special needs while ensuring they maintain eligibility for governmental benefits.
  • Multi-State Planning: Many individuals need to plan for property owned in different states, such as a vacation home.
  • International Planning: Planning for beneficiaries in different countries or for assets held in different countries.
  • Blended Family Planning: Ensuring children from a prior marriage will inherit assets.
  • Estate Tax Planning: There are many tools utilizing gifting and various trusts to minimize tax liability.
  • Asset Protection Planning: Protecting assets from creditors and legal claims.
  • Business Succession Planning: Planning for business owners to transfer to the next generation or liquidate.
  • Charitable Planning: Utilizing various estate planning vehicles to meet philanthropic goals, in addition to tax benefits.

This list is simplified and not all-encompassing but includes common estate planning areas that cannot be adequately addressed by AI or other software. Although AI is becoming increasingly part of our daily lives, successful estate plans using AI without attorney review will likely be limited to basic documents for the foreseeable future.


While AI can assist in the creation of basic estate planning documents, the complexities and nuances of comprehensive estate planning often require the expertise of an experienced attorney. As laws and individual circumstances vary greatly, professional guidance ensures that your estate plan is legally sound and tailored to your unique needs.

For assistance with your estate planning, or to discuss further, please contact KJK Estate, Wealth & Succession attorney Susan Friedman (SLF@kjk.com; 217.736.7272).