Prepaid Legal services are also known as prepaid legal insurance. Since it is hard to predict when in life you will need legal services, it is hard to plan and budget for legal expenses. Prepaid legal insurance can help you pay for attorney fees through the payment of premiums, similar to other insurance services.
Typically, the costs of attorneys vary by location and specialty, but you can pay anywhere from $100 to $1,000 an hour for legal services. The average price of an attorney falls around $350 an hour. Depending on how many hours of service you need, the costs can easily deplete your savings account.
If you have prepaid legal insurance, then you can easily pay for attorney expenses by simply contributing a set amount of money every month. For example, you may be able to apply $20 a month toward your prepaid legal insurance. Oftentimes this can be done right out of your paycheck as a voluntary employee deduction.
The Benefits of Prepaid Legal Insurance
The biggest benefit of having prepaid legal insurance is in the idea of having your very own lawyer on call. If you get a speeding ticket, file for divorce, or suffer personal injury from a car accident, you will already have a phone number to call to help you with your legal advice.
Depending on the package you purchase for your prepaid legal insurance, the monthly fee may be enough to cover all of your legal expenses without costing you additional charges. Some plans may allow you to use funds that have not yet been spent toward more intense services.
For example, for $25 a month you may be able to call your lawyer as often as you need to discuss questions about different things. Your lawyer may look over your real estate contract or advise you on how to draft a letter regarding a fraudulent credit card charge.
If you never call your lawyer, you may be able to get your monthly premiums applied to a time when you need your lawyer for a more substantial service. For example, if you pay $25 a month and don’t call your lawyer for ten months, then you may have $250 sitting in an account that can be used at a time when you need your lawyer to spend an hour drafting legal contracts or to go to court on your behalf.
Most plans do not let you rollover unused premiums, just like you can’t roll over unused health insurance. However, the plans usually allow quite a few services that are automatically included in your premium payment. More time consuming services are then offered at a discounted rate from what you would pay an attorney with whom you do not have prepaid legal insurance.
The type of prepaid legal service varies by law firm and insurance plan. You can shop online to compare different plans and see which one is best suited for your needs.
Prepaid Legal Insurance Plans
Consider all of the different prepaid legal insurance plans that are available to you before you buy your plan. If you are an individual you may want a family plan, but if you are a self-employed business owner then you may want a business plan.
An individual or family member can buy a plan that includes free or discounted services that include bankruptcy, child custody and child support, divorce, home buying and home selling, foreclosures, identity theft, immigration, and living wills.
Employers can provide prepaid legal insurance to employees as a self-funded benefit. Many employees are unable to afford legal help and as a result they may miss a lot of days of work being either depressed or trying to do their own attorney work.
Providing your employees with a prepaid legal insurance option is beneficial to both of you. Some plans can cost as little as $20 per month per employee, and can provide assistance with pre-existing legal issues as well as new issues as they arise. Spouses and dependents are automatically covered and there are no deductibles or contracts.
Businesses themselves can also benefit from a prepaid legal insurance plan. Starting as low as $70 a month, you can receive comprehensive legal help with various business matters. You can also buy legal services that relate to human resource issues, which is a big component in today’s workplace.
Prepaid Legal Insurance Scams
One of the benefits of using a prepaid legal plan with a network of attorneys is the ability to be able to change attorneys without an added expense. However, there are also some organizations that sell prepaid legal insurance plans but do not provide the services you expect.
Many prepaid legal insurance companies are legitimate. Anytime you decide to enroll with a company you should do your due diligence to make sure the company you have selected is indeed valid and has solid references.
There are many prepaid legal fraud and scam complaints about prepaid legal insurance companies. However, the majority of the complaints are not from the clients, but from the sales agents.
Sales agents sign up to sell prepaid legal insurance plans but, in most cases, they do not read the details of the contract and they become disgruntled with the sales and commissions process. This is not a direct reflection on the services that are provided by the prepaid legal insurance company to the client.
If you have a network of reputable attorneys that work together to provide services through a prepaid insurance plan, then you may easily get a return on your investment. From simple tasks such as name changes and traffic tickets to bankruptcy and simple wills with trusts, you can use your attorney as needed for different legal services every month that you have prepaid insurance.
Of course, you never know when you will need a lawyer, and some people may never really need one. However, statistics from the American Bar Association cite that approximately 50% of all US citizens need a lawyer at some point during the year. Having prepaid legal insurance means you can have a lawyer on call for all of your legal questions without the typical expensive hourly cost of an attorney.