Legalzoom advertises its online legal services a great deal. Some may get the impression that this is a free service. In my one of mamy online reviews on Legalzoom I shall identify what services are free and what requires a fee. At the end I shall provide my conclusion of LegaZoom is a good place to go for legal advice or not. And the reasons why either way. In addition, I shall suggest some alternatives so that you have options if you need a low cost way to obtain legal advice for any issue you may have.
You may want to check out the various reasons that having access to lawyers at a low cost can be beneficial to your peace of mind in one of my Blogs; How To Live A Stress Free And A Happy Life In One Way You Never Thought Possible!
What Exactly Is Legalzoom?
Legalzoom was founded 15 years ago. It’s headquarters are in Glendale, California. It promotes itself as an online legal technology company. Its focus is to service small businesses and middle class families with basic needs. It helps customers create a host of legal documents such as wills and trusts without the need to hire a lawyer.
Their services fall under four categories. Business. Wills & Trusts and Family. Intellectual Property. Contracts and Agreements.
Attorney consultation plans are also available, For a monthly fee you can access a lawyer to discuss any legal issue may have. There are two plans, one for business and another that is for personal issues.
When you review the service offered, they are heavily skewed to serve small businesses more than individual or family cases. The business services are very extensive. There differences are also reflected in a higher monthly subscription for business compared to individuals and families.
Although consultation with a lawyer is included in the plans, document reviews above 10 pages cost extra. The first 10 pages are included in the plans. There is a charge for making wills depending on several factors. If you need to hire a lawyer to represent you in court, there are additional charges for that at a discount.
I couldn’t find a plan where all family members were covered. The only area where kids are addressed is in Estate Planning.
In summary, Legalzoom claims to offer legal services that costs less compared to hiring a lawyer each time you needed their service. Or you paid tom keep a lawyer on retainer.
Go to their website https://www.legalzoom.com/ and check it out carefully. Navigating this site is not the easiest to do because the website design is disjointed and confusing. If your need is specifically for small business, it is easier to navigate. When you scroll down the Home Page, there are several areas that one would think was clickable for more detailed information. That is not so. Be aware that there is a statement about Flat Fee Pricing.
There are two levels of subscriptions. The Business Advisorty Plan starts at $31.25 a month. Their Legal Advantage Plus starts at $9.99 a month. These prices are based on annual billing. If paid monthly, the prices would be higher. Be careful when you interpret the prices. In connection with attorney services they state,
“Whether you use a self-guided or attorney-supported service, you can always count us to be upfront about pricing.”
Estate planning starts at $149.
If you wanted to create a legal form, a single one costs $14.95. If you would need to fill out legal forms on a regular basis they have a monthly fee of $7.99. However, if you purchased a Business Advisory Plan this service would be included.
My advice is that no matter what you read in the plans or services, call them to find out exactly what the cost will be. Legalzoom does not provide a matrix showing all the prices to minimize any ambiguity.
You can fund these yourself. Consumer Affairs is a good place to read unbiased reviews. I was very surprised to find the majority of the reviews were one out of five star rated. No matter how good the plans are, if the customer experience is poor, then red flags should go up. And one should think very carefully if any company with consistently bad reviews should be considered.
Here is an independent site that compares several prepaid legal services that you may wish to check out:
I would like to point out that LegalShield is at the top of this list by a wide margin. Legalzoom is in third place.
Desirable Characteristics Of A Subscription Legal Service
The first characteristic I would look for is a well-defined list of services that were covered by a monthly subscription. I don’t want to see add-ons. There should be unlimited consultation with a lawyer as part of the monthly subscription. If a lawyer is necessary to represent you in court, in certain situations that should be covered, And it was outside of covered services I would expect that to be clearly defined and look for a discount.
I found the Legalzoom plan barely adequate for basic legal needs. In cases where you needed solid legal advice, they appeared to be lacking. When compared to the plans offered by their competitors, Legalzoom could end up costing you more than what you pay for the monthly subscription.
If you need a prepaid legal service, I strongly advise LegalShield. I wrote a review about them HERE.
I’ve not mentioned this before but LegalShield offers perks that I’ve not seen any of their competitors offer. This comes in the form of significant discounts with several major retailers like, Target and Sams Club and companies with a wide range of products and services ranging from electronics, computers, hotels and travel. A member can save in average $2000 a year. This will more than pay for the subscription.
First, check out my review on LegalShield after which I urge you to do your homework before you make a decision. If you choose LegalShield I want you to feel that it was indeed the right choice and not only because of my recommendation.