I come across all kinds of interesting things at yard sales every weekend, but lately I’ve been running into all sorts of interesting *people* too ;)
Last month it was an avid coin collector who was kind enough to share some of his knowledge (and coins!) with me. Later it was a guy who had earned – and lost! – millions of dollars over his lifetime from not managing his money all too well (he’s since back on track). And then this weekend I run into a wonderful woman who not only loves my hair (yipee!), but also sneaks in a pitch for prepaid legal subscriptions, haha… A pretty smooth feat when you can transition from hairspray chat to warding off identity theft in a matter of seconds ;) But I’ll admit it caught my attention! And she was a pretty cool chick too – we had some good convos…
I’d never heard of *any* type of prepaid legal advice before, and certainly not anything on a monthly subscription plan. It’s actually a pretty cool idea, really. Even if more so for the company raking it in ;) You have protection when you need it, and when you don’t you just keep low and stress-free, continuing to pay your premium for whenever you happen to need it next. Kinda like health insurance and car/home/property insurance as well. It saves your ass in an emergency, but all the rest of the time you wonder why you’re paying for so much every month, haha…
I can honestly see a market for that, though :) Considering the wife and I STILL – to this day – have not written up our wills even though we say we’re gonna do it almost every other weekend! Maybe a subscription like this would get us to DO IT? And then review/edit it all the years forward too? Regardless we gotta figure it out SOON, especially now that we have a new member of our family to watch over going forward… We gotta get that stuff on lock.
So naturally my first question to my new friend here was, “Will this get us to do our wills faster? And is it included?” And the answer back was, “Yup!” Off to a great start so far!
This company she was talking about (we’ll call her Donna going forward) was Legal Shield. Not to be confused with Legal Zoom, with whom I’m much more familiar with and think they offer some pretty good stuff even if it costs you a pretty penny. When asked if that was her competition, she said something to the affect that they’re not even in the same ballpark, which is kinda true, though I do see what Legal Zoom now offers direct access to attorneys too – other than just legal *documents* like they’re usually known for.
At any rate though, here’s Legal Shield’s main pitch off their homepage:
“For less than $20 a month you can talk to a top quality law firm in your state about whatever you want, whenever you want.”
Enticing, right? And if you look further you’ll see they already have over 1.4 million people signed up making you feel better, as well as an impressively large headquarters to boot. A pretty legit-looking operation. And upon further investigation you’ll find they help everyone from individuals, to families, to businesses and, of course, those associates looking to help sell Legal Shield too :) Which is what my pal Donna is happily involved with. And also the part of the site that made my cringe because no matter how hard I try, I just keep thinking “Pyramid scheme!” :( Which sucks because from what I’ve gathered so far they def. don’t seem to be one.
And really there’s nothing wrong with promoting a company you love, anyways! Even if you get paid for it. We do it all the time as personal finance bloggers when we come across products we love (insert shameless plug), but the only difference is that most times it’s not all up in your face like it is on Legal Shield’s website. And people don’t randomly bring it up at yard sales either ;) Usually you have to scour a site to find their partnerships/affiliates page, but with them it’s right next to their main bread and butter: the services they offer their customers. It just makes me wonder how many others are getting turned off by it and walking away before even giving it a chance?
Regardless, it doesn’t necessarily mean their services suck, so I poked around further and saw they offer a ton of different help out there – all depending on how much you’re willing to spend, and the state you currently live in. Here is a snapshot of some of their services:
- Advice on unlimited topics, personal or business even on pre-existing conditions
- Legal Document Review (up to 10 pages each)
- Standard will preparation
- IRS audit legal services
- Up to date credit report access
- Personal credit score with analysis and continuous monitoring
- Identity Restoration Services
- After-hours legal consultation for covered legal emergencies such as: if you’re arrested or detained, if you’re seriously injured, if you’re served with a warrant, or if the state tries to take your child(ren).
- Letters and phone calls on your behalf (At the discretion of the lawyer provided)
- Motor vehicle services: Accidents, traffic violations, help with defense for charges of manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, or vehicular homicide
- Trial defense assistance if you or your spouse is named defendant or respondent in a covered civil or job-related criminal action filed in court.
All stuff that’s GREAT if/when you need ’em. And according to Donna they have one of the BEST credit restoration services too – something both her and her husband is subscribed to (among others) and they swear by. But why hadn’t I ever heard of all this before? Am I the only one missing out on this new idea, or have others been taking advantage of it the entire time and forgot to send me the memo? :) I thought I’d poke around a little more, and hit up my good friends and fans on Twitter and Facebook to learn more and gauge the temperature a bit better…
Here’s what they said (thanks guys!):
- “I use it and they have work our great me.”
- “Sounds like prepaid legal, which I had a REALLY bad experience with a long time ago.”
- “Great service from the company in FL. I’m always happy with the outcome I used them …and I’ve had them for 10 years now”
- “…I don’t think it is worth the money unless you plan on going to court and wanting an attorney at a discounted rate or you want to write out some contracts and want an attorney at a discounted rate… You are only allowed to do business with the firms that are in the legal shield program, so depending on where you are, I would make sure you have at least a few firms to deal with and they are decent firms. I wouldn’t need it, but the discounts might be good for you.”
- “Legal Shield is the old Prepaid Legal… I used to sell their products. They are a great service if you NEED an attorney. Do not get wrapped up into selling the service…Call me and I will let you know more details.” (Haha… I bet that would be interesting ;))
Some rants and some raves, but overall pretty good info to take in. It shows they’re indeed doing *something* right, but obviously it’s not for everyone. And really I’m leaning towards me being part of that “not everyone” crowd too. It’s a fantastic concept no doubt about it, and not surprising so many people have already signed up to them (they’ve been in business for over 40 years!), but realistically how often would I, personally, use them?
- When I need to make or update a will – check.
- When I need a quick question on a legal matter, perhaps with my business – check.
- When my ex-employer goes bonkers and I need to take them to court– check check!
- Or, perhaps, when the FBI shows up at my house a la Enron style and scares the bejesus out of me! Check, check, check, check, check, please! (Long story for a longer day)
I could have used this service plenty of times over the years, but at the same time these one-offs could have been plenty less expensive too when all was said and done. Even if you had to deal with a little extra stress of not having that subscription plan backing you up the entire time. As sexy as that does sound…
My mind isn’t made up quite yet, though, so if any of you L.S. lovers wanna stand up and convince me something bad will happen if we don’t sign up (maybe my left testicle will fall off?) I’m totally all
balls ears. I wanna be wooed and told my life will get a ton better if I shell out $20/$50/mo, and that it’s completely and utterly worth it. And if you’re a broker for them, I wanna hear about that too! On top of being your average consumer here, I’m also a business man fascinated with people’s hustles. And anything that generates tons of money will always have my attention ;)
In the meantime, I’m gonna go back to researching those wills and trying for real to make those bad boys finally happen… I bet you some peanuts it’ll cost a lot less than a handful of months of Legal Shield ;) What do you think?
(Photo by Alex E. Proimos)