Self-Help Legal Services

An insurance agent in one of my networking groups recently explained why one insurance company in particular can consistently offer much lower rates than his competition.  By allowing customers to choose their own coverage, no agent of the company is involved and the customer assumes all responsibility for choosing his liability coverage.  Are you confident that you’d choose the right coverage for your property given your geographic area, the likelihood you’ll have a claim, and the replacement value of your belongings?  Or would you sleep better at night knowing you spoke with an agent who has knowledge of all those facts and figures and who would back you up if you had a claim?

There is a parallel in the legal profession.  Legal forms businesses and online legal document banks “provide self-help legal services at your specific direction.”  You can certainly go buy a Do-It-Yourself will packet, but are you confident you’d know exactly how to fill it out and execute it properly?  Did you know that an improperly executed will is almost worthless?  You could similarly go online and form your business and download an operating agreement, but do you know why you’d choose to be a corporation rather than an LLC?  Do you know what your operating agreement should say?

By all means, do things yourself to save some money…AFTER having done your homework to figure out what “your specific direction” should be.  And if you don’t happen to have four or five years to spend in law school and business school, call a lawyer.