Hiring lawyers is seriously expensive and often feels like paying good money for old rope. However, the online legal sector is fast providing a long overdue alternative and challenging the lawyers’ monopoly. In particular, Legalzoom’s affordable pricing and extensive library of legally competent documents are proving to be a worthy antidote to America’s legal needs.
Let’s be blunt here, most people will only ever need to hire a lawyer for one of two reasons – divorce or criminal defence, with litigation running a close third. Basically, lawyers do not come into our lives during happy times and we only ever really seek out their services when things are going very badly wrong.
And as if getting divorced, prosecuted or sued wasn’t bad enough in itself, lawyers tend to come with hefty fees attached to their services.
Well, the good(ish) news is that these days there are now online legal services and e-lawyers who can offer cost-effective solutions for a myriad of legal needs. In this post, we will take a closer look at how they work and what they can do for us.
Lawyer Vs Legalzoom
In the infamous test case of Lawyers vs Affordable Justice, the precedent was set that legal advice and representation would henceforth be prohibitively expensive. For a long time not only did the legal profession seem to engage in price fixing, but regulators in many states actively prevented any form of market disruption.
But that is now changing. Online law platforms like Legalzoom are rapidly eating into the legal trades market share. Don’t get us wrong, hiring a lawyer is still necessary for things like litigation and criminal defence but when it comes to things like document drafting, legalzoom and their competitors are well and truly answering the market’s needs.
Legalzoom is now widely regarded as an excellent budget option for setting up an LLC (Limited Liability Company). Filing for an LLC was previously something proprietors had to hire a lawyer to handle despite the fact that the process is reality straightforward for most business structures and amounted to little more than filling in a few forms.
Likewise, Will making is largely a question of filling in a blank template and LegalZoom offers an excellent package of probate and estate planning documents.
How To Create a Contract Without a Lawyer
A contract is simply an agreement between two parties. It is even possible to enter into verbal contracts which are perfectly binding (albeit harder to prove unless you carry a tape recorder!). There are also known cases of text and WhatsApp messages being accepted as legally valid, binding and ultimately enforceable contracts.
Therefore it is not strictly speaking necessary to use a lawyer to make a contract. For example, if you ever rented a room then the chances are the lodging agreement was short, simple and neither party sought any legal advice. That said, whilst DIY contracts may be permissible for low value, low risk agreements, most scenarios do need at least some legal input.
If you ever rented a house (versus simply a room) then the rental agreement was most probably drafted by a lawyer at some point in time – even if the landlord simply downloaded the document from the internet you can guarantee that the original was drafted by a property lawyer.
Online legal services have a huge library of legal documents including contracts which are available to download and customise as is necessary. Examples include employment contracts where all you need to do is add in working hours and pay rates, or even things like sales contracts if you are selling a used automobile.
How To Create a Will Without a Lawyer
Did you know that in reality a lot of us ‘ordinary’ folk don’t really need a lawyer to help us create a will? After all, a Will really is merely a signed and dated document in which a person sets out their final wishes.
As such it is possible to make a DIY will using nothing more than pen and paper. That said, whilst Will making can be very straightforward, it is still not wise for laypeople to just jump in with no help whatsoever as most people do not really know exactly what kind of things to put in a will or how to best structure it.
Online will makers are an excellent and affordable halfway house between using a lawyer, and going in blind.
To use an online will service, the client just needs to register and pay for the service and they can then download the draft will, probate and other requisite estate planning documents. Online template documents are designed to be very easy to complete although some service providers offer customer service in case additional assistance or clarification is needed.
Once a draft online will template has been completed, it needs to be printed, signed and safely stored.
Cost of Lawyer vs Online Legal Service
Needless to say, using an online legal service like LegalZoom is a whole lot cheaper than retaining a lawyer.
The average lawyer’s fee for drafting a Will is anywhere between $300 – $1000. However, LegalZoom’s basic Will document costs just $89 and comprehensive probate and estate package are available for $249.
The average lawyer fees for setting up an LLC are $445 and that is without the filing fees that have to be paid to the state. The fees for Legalzoom’s LLC packages vary from state to state but the median is between $79 – $349 (again, this is without filing fees).
Final Thoughts on Legal Zoom
If you want to save money on your legal needs, then the cost of a lawyer vs online legal service makes it clear that it is well worth checking out legal zoom. Whilst there are many other online legal services available, we feel that the legalzoom reviews make it clear that they stand tall above the competition.
You can visit the Legalzoom site to find out how to create a will without a lawyer, how to create a contract without a lawyer or how to form an LLC. Basically, you need never pay a lawyer again…or at least until you next get arrested.