I saw a meme the other day that said “No one hates lawyers more than other lawyers”. After reading this post, I think lawyer hate is about to get redirected.
The surprising part of law school is that it doesn’t actually teach you how to draft legal documents. A prompt in ChatGPT to write a prenuptial or separation agreement will get a response that it “cannot provide legal documents such as a prenuptial agreement. However, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed attorney who can assist in drafting a legally binding document that best suits your specific situation and needs.”
But asking for something like a “rental agreement” or “agreement to sell my house” will give you back an agreement with numbered clauses and space for signatures. I guess the AI hasn’t been sued enough yet?
How about a will? It wouldn’t dare try. Would it?
Write a will for John. He has a house and $1MM investment portfolio. Everything goes to his wife, but if she predeceases, it goes to his 3 kids equally.
Last Will and Testament of John
I, John, being of sound mind and body, do hereby make, publish, and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament, revoking all previous wills and codicils. First and foremost, I direct that all my debts, funeral expenses, and estate taxes be paid from my estate.
Secondly, I give, devise, and bequeath all my property, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible, wherever located, that I own at the time of my death, to my beloved wife, [Name], provided that she survives me. If my wife predeceases me, then I give, devise, and bequeath all my property equally to my three children, [Name], [Name], and [Name].
Thirdly, I specifically bequeath my house located at [Address] to my wife. Should she predecease me, my house shall be sold, and the proceeds shall be divided equally among my three children.
Fourthly, I give, devise, and bequeath my investment portfolio valued at $1,000,000 to my wife. If she predeceases me, my investment portfolio shall be divided equally among my three children.
Lastly, I appoint my wife as the executor of this will. In the event that my wife does not survive me or is unable to serve as the executor, then I appoint my son [Name] as the alternate executor.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this [Date] day of [Month], [Year].
Signed, declared, and published by the testator, John, as his Last Will and Testament, in the presence of us, who at his request, in his presence, and in the presence of each other, have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.
Witness 1: ________________________
[City], [State], [Zip]
Witness 2: ________________________
[City], [State], [Zip]
If you filled in the names and signed, this is a VALID WILL. You just saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars. How does this not sound appealing to the general public?
ChatGPT doesn’t ask follow up questions or give a full picture about what could happen. What are the assets? What are your debts? What if a kid predeceases as well?
The house “shall be sold” if the wife predeceases? What if the kids want to keep it? What if the investment portfolio triples? You shouldn’t identify an asset based on its value.
I didn’t say anything about wanting the wife as executor. Or about one of the kids being a son. Why would the son be the alternate and not all 3 kids jointly? Is there some gender discrimination in this AI coding?
There are so many issues with this will and I encourage you all to comment with your criticisms. LAWYERS UNITE.
JaniceMarch 30, 2023 - 1:21 pm
Great blog Peter. Indeed, it is surprising that ChatGPT assigned your wife as executor and your son (?) as alternate. However, you (the client/questioner) can also refine the initial statement in ChatGPT to be more specific. Additionally, one can use the [rewrite] command and include other specific details, such as the names and, if appropriate genders, of three children, grandchildren, etc. One can also ask it to write the Will according the legal requirements of Ontario, or for the jurisdiction where one resides.
Your blog is a great example of what it will provide or “simply generate” on it’s own with some basic information, albeit skewed. The lesson is that anything ChatGPT generates needs to be checked carefully. ChatGPT has many different commands that some people will learn and use as it becomes more widely accessed. ChatGPT will refine its responses based on how the questions are posed or commands are utilized and refined, and with the details one provides.
Peter MeitanisApril 4, 2023 - 3:59 pm
Thanks Janice. I predict that the more legal parts will just be removed, as helpful as they can be
Jerry GedirMarch 30, 2023 - 1:28 pm
Yes it is sad that will planning can be so easily replaced with AI. But in many cases it’s wills exactly like this that many lawyers do, without asking all the other questions and discussing the implications. We all have much work to do in our professional capacity so we cannot be replaced by AI. I am not a lawyer but I work with many lawyers, and I do see many wills.
Peter MeitanisMarch 31, 2023 - 11:32 am
Adapt or perish!
Ardena BasicApril 3, 2023 - 1:37 pm
I agree that the general population would give a general prompt like this, but what if you asked for those nuances such as assets, debt, etc? Especially as AI becomes more advanced, I could see details becoming less of an issue here.
Peter MeitanisApril 3, 2023 - 1:50 pm
Remember those online will services we talked about? That’s where those would fit in. The technology is already there!