A couple of months ago I received Sirius satellite radio as a gift. I love it except for one constant ad that drives me absolutely bonkers. About every fifteen minutes I hear an ad from LegalZoom, a legal document company. LegalZoom touts that its fees are 85% less than those of lawyers.
First, with most Iowa lawyers the fee comparison is just not accurate. Second, while LegalZoom’s ad says it is not a law firm it fails to highlight an important part of its disclaimer pointing out that the legal information on their site is not legal advice and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or up-to-date. But as they say, it is experience you can trust. Or is it? Be sure to check out this post from a Colorado lawyer who loves LegalZoom because he has landed more business fixing mistakes from LegalZoom than he would have earned had he done the work in the first place.
One of the craziest things LegalZoom offers is a prenuptial agreement. First, if you have enough money for a prenuptial agreement you can afford a lawyer. Second, a prenuptial agreement is one area of law that if a mistake is made it could cost you – I’d say approximately half your assets. Let’s just say I have trouble believing any attorney worth his or her salt – including those "top attorneys" who founded LegalZoom – could in good conscience recommend a person use a legal forms company for a prenuptial agreement. I also wonder what my friend Brett Trout thinks about their offers on patents, trademarks and copyrights.
Use LegalZoom if you must but I highly recommend talking to an attorney before you go that route. You might be surprised by the expense comparison, and even if the cost is slightly more, the legal advice is usually worth it. As the saying goes, you can pay now or pay later. The choice is up to you.