If you need legal services, go see a lawyer. Currently, there is a movement across the country to allow “Limited License Legal Technicians” to provide legal services. This was the inevitable next step following online form providers like LegalZoom. I am going to tell why you need to see a lawyer, instead of going online or hiring a non-lawyer to handle your legal work.
When it comes to LegalZoom and other online form providers, a Last Will and Testament and business formation is what I hear people talking the most about. Are your children minors? Do you have grandchildren? Will they receive a share? Online form providers will not tell you how your Last Will and Testament needs to be modified to address these questions. In addition, what steps should you take to avoid the necessity of an Estate after you pass away? Would you rather your assets be transferred through a court proceeding that can take several months, or would you rather your assets be transferred with only a few forms to sign? What should you do to protect your assets from Medicaid Estate Recovery so that your children and grandchildren will receive something when you pass away? Online form providers like LegalZoom will not answer this for you, but a lawyer can.
When you form a business, who will own it? How will your business end? Who will get your business when you are gone? Will your business have to go through an Estate? How will you and the business be taxed? Online form providers will not answer these questions for you.
Now let’s move on to non-lawyers providing legal services. Right now in the State of Washington, non-lawyers can handle family law cases, such as divorces. They are being called Limited License Legal Technicians. They claim they are trained to handle family law cases. The problem is that the law is rarely so isolated by topic. Divorce cases also regularly involve issues of taxation, real estate, estate planning, business law, domestic violence, and contracts, just to name a few. A lawyer can address these problems with you, a non-lawyer will lack the training to provide competent advice or even understand how all of these areas of law relate to each other in a divorce case.
Also, keep in mind, that LegalZoom often advertises that it will not charge an hourly rate for the forms and "attorney access" you get. A lawyer will charge you a flat rate, and not charge you by the hour, for most of the services LegalZoom provides. Also, LegalZoom makes it sound like you can use their forms and talk to an attorney. LegalZoom does not tell you it costs extra to be able to talk to an attorney, and you only get a limited amount of time to talk to that attorney.
Here’s the point. If you don’t know how to build a wall in your house, don’t buy lumber and expect that you will know how to build a wall. If you need a wall built, don’t hire a painter and then expect the painter to know how to build a wall.
If you need legal services, don’t go online for a form, and don’t hire a non-lawyer. Go see a lawyer. Rockhold Law is a full service law firm and can help you with many of your legal needs.
112 W. Jefferson St., Suite 2
P.O. Box 336
Corydon, Iowa 50060
Phone: (641) 872-2550
Fax: (888) 694-2655
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