As estate planning attorneys in Utah, we wanted to know: are we still necessary? Or can AI provide comprehensive legal advice concerning trusts, medicaid, and estate law in Utah? 

Open AI and ChatGPT

In late 2022, Open AI released this statement about a new model they have developed called ChatGPT. “We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.” We have been fascinated by this interesting little tool, but have some reservations about its ability to accurately answer the questions and queries that are posed. It also seems to be presenting a bit of a problem for schools, since you can ask it, for example, to write you a 300 word essay. The answers are designed to sound conversational and the information all appears to be well researched and accurate… but is it? We decided to put it to the test.  

AI vs Estate Planning Lawyers: Round 1

We initially started with some baseline, easy questions about things like how to make a taco, and “what is a trust” to which it responded with several different points even covering written vs oral trusts. The responses were fairly detailed, well written, and uncannily human sounding. They sounded like something you would read on a blog or Wikipedia. The robots were off to a decent start.  

AI vs Estate Planning Lawyers: Round 2

The next question we posed through ChatGPT was this: Does a trust have to be a written agreement? The response indicated that although you could in some states have an oral trust, due to the statute of frauds, a trust would have to be written to hold real property. This answer seemed to contradict parts of the first answer to “what is a trust?” The answer was simply not clear, so in an effort to clarify, we went on to ask “In Utah, can you create an oral trust and hold real property?” Things began to get a little interesting. 

AI vs Estate Planning Lawyers: Knockout

The ChatGPT model provided a rather detailed, yet incorrect answer to this question. While the answer clearly declared that in Utah, you cannot hold property in an oral trust, we know that there is Utah case law where oral trusts have been recognized to hold real property. Another mistake was found with this statement: “Additionally, the trust agreement must be recorded in the county where the property is located in order to be effective against third parties.” This is completely untrue. 

Conclusion: You don’t know what you don’t know

We proceeded to ask several additional questions, and we encourage you to listen to our recorded podcast to hear all the questions we asked and our commentary. Within the first few minutes of the experiment, it became clear that the old cliche is true. You don’t know what you don’t know. Someone who is not an estate planning attorney could potentially read the well written, accurate sounding statements, and blindly believe them. Only an expert in the field will see the accuracies and the inaccuracies found in the detailed responses provided. Our blog is for informational and entertainment purposes only, so we won’t give any legal advice here, but we will recommend that you consult with a qualified human professional when making important, life altering decisions concerning your legacy.  

To listen to our full podcast about AI vs Estate Planning Attorney click here.