Legal Insurance for Estate Planning: Is It Worth It?

Most of us hope not to need emergency legal services during our lifetime. When we do need urgent legal assistance, not only are we likely to be completely overwhelmed by the circumstances themselves, but also by the legal fees associated with obtaining quality representation. This is where legal insurance can come into play. Many employers offer legal insurance for a low fee, which covers your legal costs when these needs arise.

Legal insurance–also called group legal–is often part of a workplace benefits package. Similar to when you opt-in for health insurance, you can opt-in to a legal plan for which you pay a monthly premium. Legal insurance provides access to a network of attorneys able to provide a variety of legal counseling services, including drafting and reviewing documents, consultation, or representation in court for a wide range of legal matters. Some of the legal issues that may be covered by group legal includes traffic violations, child support, domestic violence, and–yes–even wills, trusts, and probate.

Legal insurance be beneficial for individuals who need standard document preparation and legal advice at a low cost. There are no co-payments or deductibles, and with some plans you may get a discount with out-of-network providers, or even extended coverage for a spouse or dependents. As with a lot of insurance, however, you need to pay attention to the details.

While these benefits may seem impressive, there is some “fine print” to be aware of. Certain legal services come with a higher premium, and oftentimes there are restrictions on how many hours of representation you can claim. Many common legal services are not covered at all, such as contested divorce, bankruptcy, or criminal defense. And–at the end of the day–you still must pay out of pocket for such expenses as document filing fees, expert witness fees, and court reporters’ fees.

So, is legal insurance worth it? There are arguments to be made for both sides. For the minimal monthly cost, some say that it is comforting to have a network of lawyers at your fingertips should anything happen. Others argue that the yearly expense is not worth the coverage. The average person does not spend the yearly cost of prepaid legal costs; instead, it is recommended to just have a good emergency fund in place.

If you are considering using legal insurance for estate planning, think carefully about this decision. Your estate plan is not something you want to take a risk with, and the attorneys covered by legal insurance programs cannot spend the time your plan deserves to craft a plan that covers your unique situation given the financial remuneration they receive. Furthermore, legal insurance plans often put unrealistic limits on how much you can spend on estate planning, and, sometimes, even the types of documents your plan can include. You want the freedom to find an attorney that will spend the time designing and drafting your plan–one who you can develop a personal relationship with, and who will understand your needs, wishes, goals for the future. The way you plan your estate has a major impact on your finances, your future, and–more importantly–the future of your loved ones. This is one circumstance where you want to spend a little more money to ensure your wishes are fulfilled, your family doesn’t inherit an expensive disaster, and you have full confidence and peace of mind knowing that your future is secure.

Don’t roll the dice on your estate plan by letting a legal insurance plan dictate who you can work with for your estate planning needs. Choose the best lawyer for your unique needs and circumstances. At the Hailey-Petty Law Firm, we offer a free 30-minute consultation to help you determine if we’re a good fit for your needs. Contact us to request your free consultation today!

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