Is LegalZoom a Better Option than an actual lawyer?

March 28, 2012
By Radack & Borunda, P.C. on March 28, 2012 11:47 AM |

In most cases, the answer in most cases is probably a resounding no. LegalZoom is an online business that provides various types of legal forms for consumers at a discounted price. It provides documents for wills, business organizations and even provisional patent applications. Without question, the overwhelming discounts consumers find with LegalZoom make it extremely appealing.

However, with the discounted costs come with numerous risks. First, LegalZoom is not a law firm. There is no guidance as to what form is useful in your particular case. Sure, the simple forms might be fine for no-asset no-fault divorces, but they are much more problematic when crafting wills or forming a business.

An actual attorney is much more suitable in many of these cases. He or she will analyze your facts and help you choose your best options. With online form shops like LegalZoom, there is no thought or planning other than what the consumer chooses. This is fine if the consumer has a decent understanding of the legal concept at issue; however, it becomes more problematic in more complex areas of law. For example, in estate planning there are situations where a trust could be more suitable than a will. However, this choice cannot be weighed without the proper legal knowledge. A list of forms will not help a consumer's knowledge of which form to pick.

The law varies widely even in individual practice areas. For this reason, LegalZoom may provide consumers with unfavorable results and consequences. So, if you go with one of these online shops, at least research the issues involved to make sure you are making a more informed selection in the form you choose. That said, the best plan of action is to consult an attorney or even numerous attorneys. You can compare prices and sometimes even negotiate legal fees. In addition, many attorneys offer free consultations. At the very least you will be able to gather more information on what kind of form suits your needs.