Guide: Online Legal Services

Overview: Online Legal Services

Many of the services traditionally offered by trust and estate attorneys can now be obtained online, without having to talk to a lawyer at all. Most online legal services offer state-specific forms that can be created by answering step-by-step questions. Most online legal services also offer explanations of the specific questions being asked, explain the effect that your answers will have later on in the process of document creation, and define legal terms.

What You Need to Know

In some cases, creating legal documents online can make things easier, as there's less hassle involved in completing forms and documents, and the cost is significantly less. In other cases, specifically if you are trying to achieve complex legal goals, online document creation may not meet your needs.

Factors to take into consideration when choosing an online legal service include cost, completion and delivery time, and the services offered by the site. For example, some online legal services will submit your documents to review by a paralegal after completion, while others will not. Some online companies also offer the ability to get legal advice from real lawyers.

Resources

Smart Legal Forms

Smart Legal Forms allows you to create state-specific documents online and print them out yourself. Documents are completed in a step-by-step process, and you can see a preview of your documents as you create them. Each step provides more information about the decisions being made in that step, and defines legal terms. You can create legal documents online by yourself, purchase one-time legal advice from a lawyer, or purchase a bundle of legal forms and legal advice.

Creating a will costs $15-$30, creating a living trust cost $30, and naming a power of attorney costs $15.

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LegalZoom

LegalZoom offers state-specific legal forms on a wide range of topics. To complete the forms customers must answer a series of questions. Every questions comes with a short description of the nature of the question you're being asked, and defines any terms that may not be clear. LegalZoom also offers Legal Advantage ($15/month), which provides attorney support, an annual review of documents by an attorney, unlimited free revisions to your documents, and secure storage of your documents. Finished documents are sent to you within 4 days.

Creating a will costs $70-$80, creating a living trust cost $250, and naming a power of attorney costs $35.

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RocketLawyer

RocketLawyer offers a step-by-step process for filling out personal legal forms, and shows you a preview of your documents while you're filling them out. Every step contains information about the topics being addressed in each step, with links to articles in case you want to learn more about these issues on the RocketLawyer site. RocketLawyer also offers RocketLawyer On-Call, a service that connects you to a an attorney who can review the forms you've created online. You can also search their site for local attorneys in your area. Personal legal documents cost $10 per month.

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