Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PrePaid Legal Services

Prepaid legal service is a generic term for "legal insurance" and there are several companies that offer plans. However they are variations of the company that started the concept named Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. located in Ada, OK. Essentially, it's insurance and your "benefit" is legal service. You pay a monthly membership fee and you purportedly have unlimited access to an attorney for your legal questions, traffic ticket representation, will preparation, and other benefits. Here's the problem with prepaid legal services.

I got a call last week from a prepaid legal service provider looking for a criminal lawyer in Bryan/College Station to represent one of their insureds. The insured was a parent whose Texas A&M Aggie got into trouble with local police for a DWI breath test case. The provider asked whether I'd be interested in taking the case for their stated maximum benefit of $1,500.00. I asked whether they offered an additional benefit if I tried the case. Nope.

I told this guy his legal insurance sucked. The only lawyers in town who might take a DWI breath test case for $1,500.00 would be either starving or unqualified. I hadn't seen any starving lawyers at the courthouse lately, so I figured the poor lady who paid the insurance premiums wasn't getting the quality benefit she assumed (I suppose) she would receive.

The moral? Beware of prepaid legal services. You might not be getting what you paid for.

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