This month, we are proud to announce the addition of an online domestic partner life and estate planning education system that is free for North Carolina residents. Too often, we have found that people get conflicting advice, the wrong advice, or simply shut their personal research down because they don’t know where to start. With the launch of and, residents in both locales can download a free audio program on the basics of domestic partner planning and receive several follow-up e-mails that focus on particularly important topics.

“This web-based platform will help people searching for answers on domestic partner planning to find it in one place,” Client Services Director Kathleen Marsocci said. “There is a tremendous amount of domestic partner planning information in the audio program, and the several e-mails over the course of five weeks nicely rounds out the program. By the end of the program, partners will know what questions to ask and they will be much better prepared to work with the right attorney.”

The creation and implementation of these sites come as a response to several criticisms and opportunities in the marketplace. First, more and more people are getting their information through research via Internet, and education on the best methods of domestic partner life and estate planning is in short supply. And second, people are frustrated with having to pay an attorney, or several attorneys, just to find out the answers to basic domestic partner life and estate planning questions. While Estate Planning for Domestic Partners provides a lot of the same information for partners to review before seeing an attorney, the websites are another way to get that information.

“Who wants to pay an attorney hundreds of dollars an hour, sometimes for several hours, just to find out the basics?” Mr. Marsocci said. “Most of the initial questions we would get would be related to the difference between a Will and a Trust, what certain kinds of powers of attorney do, whether or not joint property with a right of survivorship is the way to go, and so on. That takes time, and an attorney’s time answering these questions in person costs money. It’s much better to get all of that information online, free, using the platform we created so that the first time you meet with an attorney you are already asking questions particular to your own situation rather than what basic documents do.”

The law firm plans to introduce other online educational systems, and it has, in fact, already launched designed for general life and estate planning questions with focus on living trusts in general (as opposed to domestic partners in particular). For those who only need a simple will package, the firm will launch and within the next week or two.