Many people are increasingly turning to the Internet for the things they want, from downloading software to purchasing merchandise. When it comes to legal matters, however, is it advisable to go the online route? Many websites have emerged that act as personal lawyers where users fill in the required information, make a small payment and receive their legal documents online. The process is not only cheaper but also faster, as you may set up and receive a complete will within an hour.
According to statistics from IBISWorld, the revenues generated by online legal companies have more than doubled since 2006. Many people are turning to these services because of their apparent convenience and low rates. For example, getting a real estate lease from a lawyer may cost several hundred dollars while the online services provide the “same” service for even less than $30. Some websites also offer unlimited access to different legal documents for a nominal monthly subscription. However, some argue that they actually cost more in the long run. Here are some things to consider before opting for an online legal service.
1. The legal documents may not be accepted in court
Some consumers have been rudely shocked when they presented the documents that they bought online in courts of law only to find out that the documents were invalid.
2. Documents may not be filed correctly
One person applied for a patent using the online services but found that the service was not processed properly and needed to pay more for the application to be done right.
3. Inability to completely cover unique circumstances
A simple online form cannot deliver a well-customized legal document that meets the specific needs of a client. For example, every situation is unique when it comes to wills, from distribution of assets to religious upbringing. An apparently small omission can leave the beneficiaries with various complications, including payment of unexpected taxes.
4. Lack of emotion and relationship
Speaking with an attorney face to face enables the attorney to know the right questions to ask and the best approach to take. However, simply marking preset check boxes may make you miss an important question. Divorce is another situation where emotions are greatly involved.
5. Unexpected subscriptions
Some clients use online legal services for one-time events only to later find unexpected recurring charges.
Apart from the legal challenges mentioned, you may need to make regular updates when you use online legal services. It is better to start off right even when you pay hundreds of dollars but have the peace of mind that you have a foolproof document. This is especially important considering that relatively few legal situations are black and white. At the law office of Eric Harron, we’re here to help. Please feel free to contact us if you have any question.