Why You Shouldn’t Trust AI With Your Will

Posted by Charlotte Davis | Oct 16, 2023

When you consider estate planning, you may find yourself thinking: why do I need an attorney to draft my will when I can find wills on the internet, or have Artificial Intelligence (AI) draft one for me? 

And the answer is AI was not created by lawyers to write legal documents. Would you trust a robot that is not programmed by doctors to perform surgery?  Of course not.  Then why would you trust AI with your wealth and your legacy?

Below are just a few reasons why you shouldn't trust AI with writing your will.

1. AI has a history of getting things wrong.

Steven Schwartz, an attorney, learned the hard way that AI doesn't know the law when he used ChatGPT for legal research.  ChatGPT produced cases and citations that Schwartz cited in a court filing; however, the cases turned out to be fake and Schwartz faced disciplinary measures for misleading the court.

The city of Louisville, Kentucky, experienced a school bus transportation disaster when it used AI to create its bus routes for Jefferson County Public Schools.  On the first day of school in August 2023, students were stuck at school for hours, and the last child didn't get home until nearly 10 pm.  The bus routes were such a fiasco that the superintendent had to cancel school for the next two days while the school system figured out new bus routes.

General AI software can be helpful for certain things, but recent events have proven that it is not ready or capable of completing other tasks.  It's best not to leave your legacy in the hands of software proven to make mistakes.

2. AI doesn't know Tennessee law.

AI does not know the many different types of law needed to create an effective estate plan.  In fact, it doesn't even know basic law on the execution of Tennessee wills.

For example, AI doesn't know what validates a will in Tennessee.  Wills in Tennessee must be signed by two witnesses.   But did you know that according to Tennessee law, the witnesses must witness the testator sign the will in the presence of each other too?  If they don't, the will can be considered invalid. 

When ChatGPT was asked the requirements of a Tennessee will, it said this about the witnesses:

Tennessee law usually requires at least two competent witnesses to sign the will. These witnesses must be at least 18 years old and should not be beneficiaries of the will. Their role is to testify that the will was executed properly. If a witness is also a beneficiary, it might raise legal complications, and the bequest to that witness might be void unless there are at least two disinterested witnesses.

There was no mention of the requirement of witnessing in the presence of each other. 

ChatGPT didn't go to law school, and isn't required to take continuing legal education classes.  It doesn't know the specificities of the law, and those specificities of the law are critical for making sure your plan works for you when you need it.  If you want to make sure your plan is drafted properly, use a licensed Tennessee attorney.

3. AI doesn't consider your family dynamics, your finances, and your goals for your legacy.

Finally, when AI spits out documents or answers, it doesn't take into account the intricacies of your finances, your family, and your life.  AI won't take a comprehensive look at your finances, or work with your financial advisor or accountant.  It won't ask you questions about your family and your goals.  It won't give you counsel as to upcoming laws that could affect your wealth, and it won't talk to you about different ways to craft your estate plan to work with your family dynamics and finances, or to provide asset protection.

In short, AI simply can't create a plan for you that is catered to your life.  It generates one-size-fits-all documents that may not be what you need, and may not work for you when your family needs it.  AI doesn't know the law, and you shouldn't trust it to protect your legacy.

About the Author

Charlotte Davis

Charlotte Davis brings 20 years of professional experience to Harpeth Estate Law, which she started to help clients set up estate plans that provide for their loved ones and their legacy after death.

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