Getting legal documents or advice from online services such as LegalZoom can leave you frustrated, and it might be much more costly than expected. While it may seem easy now, it can really hurt you (and cost you!) in the long run. Here are 8 reasons to be wary of using these online legal services.
Relationships Are Important
A face-to-face discussion with a knowledgeable and trusted attorney is key to creating a comfortable and beneficial relationship. It allows you to fully explain exactly what you’re seeking so you know you’re understood. And discussing your legal needs with someone who knows what questions to ask often helps clarify a confusing situation. Sometimes we think we need one form or contract, but because we’re not all attorneys, we can be wrong. And while LegalZoom may write up a great contract, it won’t be what you need and the online legal service has no way to know that.
Your Situation Is Unique
No matter what your legal need might be—estate planning, incorporation, real estate transactions, probates and wills—the specific details of your situation are most likely different from anyone else’s. A cookie-cutter solution will probably only “kind of” fit your needs. It won’t address every aspect of what you’re looking for. And it certainly won’t be customized to cover everything you need it to.
You Don’t Want to Be Upsold
You want sound legal advice and expert representation. You don’t want to be asked repeatedly if you would consider buying additional information or an “upgraded” package or subscription. You want your lawyer to help you, not sell you something you don’t really need.
Hidden Fees Are the Worst
Even if you buy a prepackaged solution from an online legal service such as LegalZoom, any filing fees, penalties, quick-delivery costs, and other hidden charges you might incur are your responsibility. You should know exactly what your costs are going to be to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Local Laws Vary Widely
Every state, county, city, and borough has its own set of laws—and they can vary tremendously from place to place. You need an attorney who knows the specific laws that pertain to your situation no matter where you live. Here at Surratt & Thompson, we know North Carolina laws like the back of our hand, particularly those of Forsyth County, Davie County, and surrounding areas. LegalZoom? Not so much.
The Law Changes All the Time
A “one-size-fits-all” solution might not take into account recent changes to laws and requirements. You need to be confident that the information you get is from an experienced local attorney who understands the ever-changing legal landscape.
You Deserve Quick Answers
If you need answers to important questions, legal advice, additional information, or an explanation of a legal concept, you want to be sure there is someone you can ask who is responsive and knows your case. Quick and effective follow-up will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind. Typically the customer service team at LegalZoom are there for troubleshooting website errors – not legal errors.
You Want to Count on Future Support
If your legal documents are questioned or stance is challenged—or if additional opposition develops or new information comes to light–you don’t want to start at square one. You want to reconnect with an experienced attorney who knows your case. Only they can provide continuing support and expert follow-through. LegalZoom may remember the paperwork you needed, but they don’t provide much help after that.