A legal plan service or membership program, is a concept that has been around for a number of years. Legal plans became popular in Europe in the 1930’s, and they remain popular and well-known there today. In America, legal plans have also become increasingly popular, as more companies have offered different plans, and individuals and business have seen their value. Legal plans work by providing basic coverage and attorney services for a membership, or a prepaid fee, that is usually paid monthly or yearly. By paying the membership fee, you have access to an attorney and their services, where without the plan you would have to pay, in some cases, a substantial fee. Having a legal plan service can make good sense, but it won’t solve all your legal issues.
Most of these plans focus on preventative legal care, so you can get legal assistance and advice before you start having legal difficulties. They also cover some basic issues that many individuals or businesses need legal assistance with. You will be able to have a free consultation with an attorney at no additional cost, often initially by phone. You can usually call the attorney on as many different legal issues as you want, you will receive a free consultation for each question or issue. This can be a powerful tool, as you can often get many of your legal questions or issues handled this way.
Other services are also included in legal plans. Normally a free will will be included, with yearly updates. Many plans will also write a letter or a make a call on your behalf. This is a valuable service if you are having a dispute, as an awareness of attorney representation can clear up many issues with a 3rd party. In addition, you will also have coverage for contract or document review, where your attorney will review documents, such as agreements or sales contracts, and answer any of your questions. If you need more legal assistance, such as an appearance in court, or extra legal help, you will get a discount on the attorney’s hourly fee.
There are a variety of legal plans available. The most basic plan is the individual or family plan, but many legal service plans also offer business coverage, where they provide basic legal services tailored for a business. There are even more specialized legal plans available, such as one designed just for truck drivers. A great way to join is to see if you workplace offers a plan as an employee benefit package, many do. In many cases, you can join for free or reduced cost.
There are some limitations. Prepaid legal services are not designed to solve preexisting or ongoing legal issues. There focus is on preventative care and access to an attorney for a consultation. If you have a major legal issue, such as a law suit, a divorce, or bankruptcy, a legal plan will be of limited assistance, although you will probably get a discount of the hourly rate you would normally pay an attorney. A legal plan service is a way for middle class Americans to have the access to attorneys that used to be the province of the wealthy. Having a plan is a great way to help keep yourself out of legal trouble with preventative assistance, but it won’t solve all of your legal problems.
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