A review of prepaid legal services

Are Prepaid Legal Services Worth the Cost?

TDS Reader Solutions

Is Prepaid Legal Worth the Cost?

Has anyone used one of those prepaid legal services? There are several advertised where you pay about $14.95 and they will provide legal services to you (probably for a year).

Steer Clear of Prepaid Legal Services

We did and it was horrible. They didn't cover most of the services we wanted legal advice on (custody, wills, visitation, traffic court). They did offer a 20% discount for lawyers in their plan for the services they didn't cover, but they were overpriced and not local to us. We didn't find one service for which we could use their lawyers.

Prepaid Legal Offers Limited Benefits

My husband decided to sign up for this service through his work. We pay about $12 a month. We've used it a couple times for advice on child custody issues and bill collector issues. It seems to be okay, but they cannot really help you do anything. They just give advice and tell you the forms for which to look. For real services, you have to pay extra.

If you are expecting to have something come up really fast where you'll need advice, sign up for the prepaid legal. Generally, you do get a free will kit. Actually we got three of them, but we still haven't filled them out. You can cancel anytime

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Prepaid Legal Is Worth Every Penny!

I saw your note about the prepaid legal service plans and I can tell you that we have been very satisfied with the service. We have been a subscribers for about a year and we have used it several times to resolve dispute issues, and to obtain advice on various matters. I wasn't sure what to expect when we signed up, but after using the service a few times, we found it is well worth the cost (about $20 per month). And a truly professional law firm serves us. We have access to a top rated law firm in our state that is available 24 hours if needed. Our plan is very comprehensive and covers just about any matter.

The plan is even more important to us now that our son has recently been diagnosed with a developmental disorder and we will have to make use of the service in obtaining services for him. I know there is no way we could afford an attorney on our own. I just wish I had known about this service years ago. I could have avoided a lot of costly mistakes.
C. Holman

Related: What You Need to Know about Writing a Will

Know What's Included In Prepaid Legal Services

First, try to determine which attorney in your area is signed up with the prepaid legal service. Then determine the field in which he/she is considered to be an expert and just what the service includes. I signed up with a plan once and found the attorney they used was inexperienced and handled only a limited type of cases.

Their sales pitch sounded great. In fact, they signed up a dozen or so people in my area to sell their plan. (They pay a generous commission.) Before signing with them, I got confirmation that I could cancel the service if I did not like it once I received the initial package. It was a great disappointment and I asked for and received my money back.

Don't Go Without Prepaid Legal Services

I purchased a policy through my job, preferring to be safe rather than sorry. I had an issue regarding custody/power of attorney over my minor children and the legal service was a lifesaver. They were able to inform me of my rights over the phone and they also faxed me the forms that I needed to resolve my situation. I was able to handle everything over the phone, get peace of mind (I had an answer right away), and get the results I wanted! I would certainly recommend it.

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Another Satisfied Customer

Yes, we have had prepaid legal for about seven years now. Five years ago, just after we moved into our apartment, we had a flood that was a direct result of some faulty roof work that had been done. We had to stay in a motel one night, replace our two-year-old bed, wash all our hang-up clothes, and do other miscellaneous things that we paid for out of our own pocket. We only had partial use of our apartment for 13 days while five contractors did their stuff. The apartment property manager wanted to pay for our motel and offered to take $100 off of our next month's rent. We declined and wrote a polite letter to them, sending a carbon copy to our attorney, which we had through a pre-paid legal service. The end result was that we got all of our expenses paid for ($1100), minus some for the depreciation of the bed (that was reasonable). If we didn't have this service, I don't believe that we would have gotten our money in such a timely manner (or perhaps not at all). It was well worth it for us.

Related: What Is a Power of Attorney and Do You Need One?

Don't Pay for This Service

I used to be the Manager of Benefits Administration for a company that offered this benefit to the employees. I do know of a couple of instances where people used the service for out-of-town speeding tickets (may or may not be covered according to your plan). Also, they have a network of attorneys, much like choosing a primary care physician from a list, and you don't have a wide range of choices. In most cases, you have further fees for their services. Still, it's $15. You need to weigh the probability of its use. Knowing what I know, though, and with my lifestyle, I wouldn't pay for this service. Be sure to read the fine print.

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Nothing but Satisfied

I've used a prepaid legal service for years now, and I have to say that for about the cost of a pizza a month, I have a great deal of peace of mind. This is so important when you have your own business. Statistics show that even if you don't have a business, you are three times more likely to end up involved in a lawsuit than in the hospital.

The company I'm involved with provides a comprehensive will that is included in the price. You could literally get on board for under $20, get your will made up, and cancel your service. This comprehensive will could cost you $300 to $500 otherwise. But I haven't seen too many cancel, because if properly educated about their service, they understand the value of it.

I've successfully used mine to fight traffic fines, to obtain legal advice, to have a letter sent on my behalf from an attorney to uncooperative customers that owe money, to have letters sent to companies not willing to refund my rightly-due money, to have legal documents comprised (promissory notes), and to have legal documents reviewed before I sign.

If you drive a vehicle, you should not be without this kind of service, especially if you have teenage drivers in your household. The service even provides representation in the event of an auto accident where a death is involved.

There are more benefits that I've not used, such as trial defense and audit protection. I've used my service for the past 9-1/2 years. They are highly reputable and only use A+ rated attorney firms. We've been nothing but satisfied.

Disappointing at Best

I tried the prepaid legal route a number of times and have been sorely disappointed. If you are looking to do a will, it is worthwhile, but after the will is drawn up, I would cancel the service. The lawyers do little more than talk to you over the phone and give legal advice that can be had by any legal CD-ROM. Getting anything above or beyond a will or phone advice without the lawyer sneaking in a hidden cost is like pulling teeth.

Good Source for Advice

I have used pre-paid legal and found they hire large law firms in major cities and that's good. I found that they are helpful when you are trying to determine your rights, review a contract, deal with a ticket, or in need of advice on matters or procedure. When it comes to hiring a lawyer, they are not the right way to go. Even with the discounts, the costs are still higher than most attorney's fees. So for $14.95 a month, it's a great service if all you want to do is pick up the phone to pick their brain.

Reviewed January 2018

Take the Next Step:

  • Don't think prepaid legal services are right for you? Try these 6 suggestions for lowering attorney fees.
  • Do you need an elder law attorney? Here's how to find one you can trust.
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