Do you have a pre-paid legal plan that you’re paying a monthly membership fee on? Have you been using it? If you’re like most people then you’re probably not. We know that most pre-paid legal plans will give us help in just about every area requiring an attorney, but the question is do you really need it? Let’s take a look at three examples of why you may not need a pre-paid legal plan.
1. Criminal cases – Almost every pre-paid legal plan offers representation in the event criminal charges are brought against you. That is nice, but would you ever need it to start with? Most likely not. You shouldn’t be breaking the law anyway.
Secondly, if you were faced with criminal charges, do you want to be left with no choice of legal counsel? With a pre-paid legal plan you’re at the mercy of your plan in having a lawyer. You don’t have the power of making a choice. What if you don’t get along with each other? What if you don’t trust them? Would you want to face criminal prosecution with someone you don’t care for at your side? This is a distinct possibility you face with these types of legal plans.
2. Civil Defense – Most pre-paid legal plans will provide an attorney to defend you in the event you are sued and need to defend yourself. Most likely, this would be due to an auto accident or homeowners incident where someone was hurt on your property, bitten by your pet, etc.
Again, this is nice coverage to have, but is it really necessary? Not if you have insurance. For example, in the event you are sued over an auto accident, your insurance company will provide legal counsel. They hire the attorney to defend your case. Why? The insurer is the party that will end up paying financially in the event you are found guilty. They have the most at stake, and this is part of the reason you pay for insurance to start with. Now, in the event you carry no insurance coverage, you may need this type of pre-paid legal service.
3. Civil Plaintiff – You need to sue someone else. Yes, your pre-paid legal plan will likely give you the services of an attorney to help. But, do you really need it?
Just as I mentioned earlier in using the services of an attorney in a criminal case, the same applies in these types of cases. Ask yourself, do I want to be forced to use the one attorney my legal plan forces me to use? Or, do I want to find an attorney who specializes in the area where my civil suit arises?
Yes, but won’t that cost me a bundle of money? Keep in mind, civil attorneys, in most cases, are paid for their work only in the event they win your case. They have a vested interest in your case and will do all they can to win it. The higher the monetary judgment, the more they make too.
For these types of cases, wouldn’t you be more comfortable with someone who handles cases that are specific to the area you’re suing in? I don’t think you would want an attorney who specializes in wills and trusts handling your asbestos lawsuit.
These are just three good reasons to consider whether a pre-paid legal plan is right for you or not. Now, with this said, a legal plan is great for issues such as wills, trusts, divorce and custody issues, simple contracts and other business matters. A pre-paid legal plan can be a tremendous help for services like that. You will just have to decide if it is what you are needing.