Prepaid Legal Services: One-Stop Shopping for Your Legal Needs

Prepaid Legal Services: One-Stop Shopping for Your Legal Needs

by Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq., August 2016

Whether you're an employer, an individual, or a business owner, prepaid legal services can help you with your legal needs.

A prepaid legal services plan can include services such as attorneys providing document review, legal letter writing, tax advice, and guidance on forming a corporation. It can include personal assistance, such as estate planning and advising about family law, bankruptcy, and employment issues.

Most of the plans include consultation with attorneys, either for a limited or unlimited amount of time, depending on the plan you choose.

Why Do People Use Prepaid Legal Service Plans?

There are many benefits of using a prepaid legal plan. People who use prepaid legal plans can:

  • Substantially cut the cost of attorneys' fees
  • Have an attorney available for them immediately, if needed
  • Save time not searching for an attorney
  • Reduce the stress of performing their own legal work
  • Eliminate costly mistakes resulting from performing their own legal work
  • Receive quality legal services
  • Enjoy peace of mind, knowing an attorney has reviewed their documents or their case

How Do Prepaid Legal Services Help Businesses?

Prepaid legal plans can help small and large businesses in the same way the plans help individuals. Businesses can benefit from using prepaid legal advice because such plans:

  • Substantially reduce legal costs
  • Make attorneys available when needed and eliminate the need to search for attorneys
  • Offer quality legal services
  • Value the business more as a prepaid legal customer because of the volume of businesses represented
  • Reduce stress from having to find the right lawyer for each type of service needed
  • Provide peace of mind, knowing an attorney has reviewed their documents or their case

How Do Prepaid Legal Plans Work?

Each company that provides a prepaid legal services plan is different from the next, but many of the plans have similar features. The plans generally will include:

  • Telephone or internet consultations
  • Legal research and writing
  • Legal document review of prepared or signed contracts
  • Consultations for differing lengths of time
  • Letter writing, such as a cease and desist letter or a letter offering terms for negotiation purposes
  • Preparation of debt collection letters
  • Reduced fees
  • The ability to have an attorney defend you at trial, depending on your plan

How Do You Pick the Best Prepaid Legal Service?

Whether you have a business or want to be an individual subscriber, it pays to do your homework before choosing a plan. If you feel comfortable speaking with an attorney on the phone, you may want a plan that offers a certain amount of phone contact or even one that offers unlimited contact. You may pay more for unlimited phone contact with a prepaid attorney, but it may be worth it for you to have legal advice just a phone call away at all times.

Make sure the company you pick is reputable. You can check online reviews to see what others say about the various companies' legal services. Some plans allow you to cancel at any time even if you have a monthly subscription. Usually the subscription offers affordable legal services for one low price, but then you also can get additional services, such as extra phone calls or extra consultation time.

You may choose a plan that allows you to work with different lawyers in the plan. This enables you to use a family law attorney for a matrimonial matter, an estate attorney for estate planning, and a business lawyer to help you set up a corporation. If you prefer to stay with the same attorney, some plans will permit you to do that. Working with the same person makes you feel like you have your own lawyer, which is beneficial to you because the lawyer will be familiar with all of your legal issues.

Can Employers Offer Prepaid Legal Services to Their Employees?

Employers can offer prepaid legal services to their employees much as they offer health care benefits. The employer pays for the plan, usually at a discounted rate because of the number of employees involved. Whether the employees use the prepaid service or not, they feel like they have their own attorney when they need one.

The Future of Prepaid Legal Plans

Prepaid legal plans are not going to make private lawyers obsolete, but they are an alternative to high hourly rates when all you need is to have one or two questions answered. These plans can be ideal for such a situation.

The availability of prepaid legal plans allows individuals, employees, and businesses to have their own attorney at their disposal. So long as the company is reputable—which can be researched online—a prepaid legal plan is an intelligent and effective solution for people who have previously handled legal matters by themselves.

LegalZoom offers prepaid legal services for families and businesses. Sign up for the personal legal plan or business legal plan to receive unlimited 30-minute attorney phone consultations on new legal matters, tax advice from a tax professional, legal document review, and more for one low price.