Does LegalZoom Really Work?

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Does LegalZoom work?LegalZoom is a DIY legal website that offers legal forms and paperwork for various business and personal needs. But does it come close to replacing the advice you’d get from a lawyer?

Overview
The biggest reason people try to do their own legal work is because of the high price of legal help. These staggering costs can really add up if it’s a complicated matter, and can be prohibitively expensive for start-up companies and s family matters that don’t have a lot of complicated stipulations involved.

The Claim
LegalZoom claims that they are an affordable and personalized service that will take into account your unique needs and situation. They say they’re able to assist with a myriad of legal issues including starting, naming, and running your business as well as business tax issues. They also help with many personal matters including wills and trusts, bankruptcies, and divorces. They can also help with trademark and Intellectual Property concerns.

The Hype
They have multiple ad campaigns going on right now, both on TV and using online advertising, so you may have noticed their ads while you were doing a search for various legal services. Not much hype is required to sell a service like this because most people don’t have the funds to hire a lawyer for basic legal matters, and are eager to find a way to get the same sort of results at a fraction of the price.

The Cost
The cost of LegalZoom varies depending on what you’re looking to get done. Since they have such a wide range of services you could end up paying as little as $100 for an LLC registration for your business, or as little as $70 for a basic will. They also have a lot of additions and upgrades that you can add on, so it’s really a matter of determining what you need and what you don’t need so that you’re charged the right price for what you’re trying to do.

Keep in mind that the prices you see at the site do not include the charges you’ll run into by the state you’re doing business in, or that you live in. These fees are in addition to these court filing fees or state filing fees.

The Commitment
These types of services are supposed to help you make heads or tails of the legal process by walking you through step by step. They are supposed to be a middle ground between going with a lawyer and doing it entirely on your own without any guidance whatsoever. Rather than having to figure out all the steps on your own, this is supposed to shorten the learning curve so that you can finish more quickly and accurately than you would if you just started filling things out from scratch.

Evaluation
The Huffington Post says they provide top quality legal documents, but Consumer Reports says that they don’t come close to giving you the type of information and help you’d get from a lawyer. Consumer Reports might be being a little unrealistic here as most people are aware that they aren’t getting lawyer-caliber assistance here for a paltry price. It’s not as if LegalZoom is saying that their divorce forms are going to help you win a case against your ex if they’ve hired a lawyer.

The real question is whether or not this service helps you out better than doing it completely on your own, and for that we’d have to say yes in most instances. They also offer a service that includes actual legal consultation for a monthly fee, so they are doing a good job of bridging the gap between getting a lawyer and doing it yourself.

A lot of legal work is repetitious, since certain rules and regulations must be followed. This means that many of the steps involved are simply repeated again and again for every case. For example, a will needs to include certain information in order to be valid. A business filing needs to have A, B, and C filled out in order to be acceptable. If you don’t know what this information is you run the risk of not filling out these documents correctly, and having things either be rejected or not stand up in court. So in this regard it provides a way for you to make sure that all of your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed so you don’t make simple mistakes.

Final LegalZoom Review

Overall, LegalZoom may be able to help you out in a simple business situation, or at least get the process started when funds are tight and you’re just starting out. For wills and trusts you’d almost always want to get an attorney because they will be able to help you protect your assets best and make sure that things get passed on without being heavily taxed and without a lot of fighting over who gets what.

Our Recommendation
If you’re prepared to roll up your sleeves and do the mental legwork on your legal documents, you’ll probably be happy with the quality of the forms they provide. But if you’re looking for something that will act as a substitute for a lawyer, this isn’t it. But the good news is that there really isn’t any substitute for a lawyer, so going with a competing service is going to provide pretty much the same result.

What do you think? Does LegalZoom work or not?

13 Customer Reviews on “Does LegalZoom Really Work?

  1. Is this also a good site to use to pitch a business idea and to have it notarized so that no one can take your idea?

  2. I tried this recently it was incredibly easy to fill out and works fine. It also was much quicker and cheaper that having a name change with a lawyer at court.

  3. I’m 39 years old and I have a lot of issues and well, I only use this computer. I have lived here in well NM for all of my life, I wanted to know if you could talk this talk? My parents are my treatment guardians. I believe in faith. Too, to explain, I have never been married and I want that to be known, but, too I haven’t seen my 17 year old son in 17 years. So I have a son out of wedlock, and to get here it took me faith. I am disabled according to the state of NM. Don’t let anything happen to me.

  4. It seems like it would be an excellent idea for those of use who simply can’t afford lawyers. Especially from what Phyllis said about the legal purposes of starting their own business. I can see why it wouldn’t give you the same advice as a lawyer but would you be able to pay such inflated fees for something that you could have done yourself or with assistance for much cheaper? There are definitely situations where only using forms would be inappropriate but I’m it’s a great way to save money on something less serious or doesn’t need to meet inside a court room.

  5. Robert Shapiro does instill a lot of confidence in Legal Zoom in the company’s commercial. He also co-founded the company. Then again, he also helped get O.J. Simpson acquitted. Hopefully no one remembers things that happened 18 years ago.

    The site itself serves a purpose, as legal fees can be prohibitive for many average people. Yet it’s important to seek legal advice. There is no comparison for consulting an actual legal professional, but if you’re diligent and have researched the legal situation which applies to you, then this site can give you good access to a wide variety of legal forms and things necessary to make filings with the help of an actual lawyer, saving you serious cash.

  6. This is a great idea! I love that people have access to so much information these days, thanks to the Internet and services like this one. I am glad that this review tells it like it is: expect to do extra work on your own because you will not have the luxury of having a lawyer handle all of the difficult jargon. But these documents will save you a lot of money and will help you get started with whatever your dream business is. I like that, and I like the fact that people have more choices these days to pursue their aspirations.

  7. This is a great service. I started my business and an organization. If I had secured a lawyer to do both the incorporation and LLC for two businesses and a CPA to do the 501 [3] c I would have been broke. Not to say that Legal Zoom is free but you can do several different and common things for a fraction of what you would pay in legal fees to a law office and then sit and wait forever while it was done. You can also do wills and power of attorney paper work that is really inexpensive and quick.

  8. I recommend Legal Zoom. I went purchased Legal Zoom for our will and power of attorney for my grandmother. Legal Zoom is easy to understand. The steps are easy, but what is more amazing is the price. We were able to do all our affair with Legal Zoom for one fourth of the price that attorneys was quoting us. I would recommend Legal Zoom for an excellent alternative to the high cost of an attorney. Everything is included. We did run across a few questions, but when we went to file the paper work at our courthouse the clerk answered them for us.

  9. I had never heard of LegalZoom before but I definitely think this is a long overdue idea. Lawyer fees are simply ridiculous. The main advantage here is that everything is on one site. Most of these forms could eventually be located on the internet, but here they are all on one site and you can compare costs without spending hours researching and locating forms.

  10. I just recently heard about LegalZoom and found it to be quite a refreshing idea. Lawyers fees are simply ridiculous and most of the paperwork can easily be filled out by anyone, so why the high prices? Because they know which form you should use? LegalZoom makes this easy and I found their site to be laid out plainly and simply for anyone to navigate. They also do forms by state, ensuring users are filling out the proper forms. The costs, especially when compared to using a traditional lawyer, are significantly lower and most everyone can afford this service. As a mom with children, I appreciate how even the wills are simple and cost-effective.

  11. We used Legal Zoom in our home when we were helping someone boost their music career and needed some legal protection. This company is easy to use, very clear and precise, and can walk you through each of the steps to becoming legally responsible and guarded. We also found that if we encountered any struggles or were uncertain about something, they were available to answer questions and guide us through the tricky ins and outs of legal documents. We had never before experienced any legal steps and Legal Zoom helped make the “unknown” a little easier to understand and navigate through.

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