I am not a lawyer. Many times, when I take a question, I'll preface it by saying, "Now, I am not a lawyer…"

There are times you should seek legal advice. But truth be told, many people are either too intimidated or can't afford to connect with a traditional lawyer.

That's led a lot of people to look at online resources like LegalZoom or Willmaker. Making a will online is one popular scenario. But if your situation is complicated, you're best served with a real lawyer. "Complicated" means having a blended family, an estate that may be contested, etc.

So this self-serve area is booming. For iPhones, there's a new app available at ShakeLaw.com. This app allows you to draw up a legal agreement on your phone in just a couple minutes. An Android app is coming, but there's no firm release date yet.

Shake works best for very minor agreements, such as when you're lending somebody money. They are *not* trying to replace lawyers. They are here to help with simple transactions, the kind of work a lawyer may look at as junk work.

I'm not going to tell you when you need a lawyer and when you don't. That would be out of line for me. But I think the tipping point is the complexity of what you're dealing with and how much money is at stake.

Whether lawyers like it or not, websites and apps to do basic legal things are part of the present and the future.

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Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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