I saw there was a brief discussion on this as part of a "will" thread a while back and i'm interested in them.
Basically a prepaid legal plan involves paying a monthly fee, usually 15-25 per month. For this you get access to an attorney with, depending on the plan and price, a variety of included services.
Most offer a basic will with annual updates, relatively unlimited telephone calls to ask legal questions, review of legal documents (some limit the number and number of pages), and having the lawyer make 'necessary' phone calls and write 'necessary' letters on your behalf.
The more expensive plans also offer to represent you in court for minor criminal matters like traffic tickets and additional frills and benefits.
This is one of those things like insurance where I can think of a lot of occasions where a letter to a problem contractor, a review of a dicey document, or having someones business card in my wallet if you ran into a sticky situation might have been a really great benefit. Maybe even worth a few hundred bucks a year.
Investigating this, I found quite a variety of companies, many of them "big name" subsidiaries of GE, countrywide, etc.
Brewer mentioned "prepaid legal services", who seems to be a major operator. However I found that the BBB revoked their relationship with PPS due to excessive unresolved customer complaints around the service and some fringy sounding MLM practices where they were signing up people to sell the service who were supposed to sign up other people to sell the service and none of them actually made the kind of money that they were supposed to.
I tested this by filling out a form on their web site to ask for more information, simply asking if the lawyer I would be working with would be in my local area and what names of lawyers/firms do they work with so I could check THEM out. I had little interest in calling some 800#, waiting on hold, and having some telemarketing droid from another state that doesnt know **** from shinola as far as my geographic area spend 10 minutes thumbing through a directory and asking me "do you live near...?"
I had four people call me over the course of three days, one that wanted to get me "on the phone with her supervisor", and one that persisted in calling after I told her on the phone and in writing that I was no longer interested. None of them were prepared to answer my simple question..."lets just get started signing you up and then see what we can do for you!".
On the flip side, theres a smaller local service that supposedly is the "pioneer" of prepaid legal services...caldwell legal in Sacramento CA...less than an hour away. Good BBB record and a solid member of the BBB...no complaints filed in recent history. Sounds good. $15 a month but only document/telephone stuff, no representing you in court. However any and all legal services beyond what they cover is discounted to $85 per hour.
Filled out their "request for more information" form, same question about local lawyers, who they might be, etc.
So I directly emailed the guy who had his email listed on the web site. He replied the next day that they dont give information out via email, that I should call their main number. Hmm...then why is there an "RFI" form on their web site.
Two weeks later someone from customer service responded "please call our main number to answer your question".
My take in general is that the service you get BEFORE you give someone your money is generally far better than the service you get AFTER they've got your credit card and signed you up to a one year service plan. Fooey.
I sort of let it drop after that. But i'm still interested.
Anyone actually sign up for one of these? What was your experience like? Who was it? Did you get a local lawyer? Were they any good? Did you have a choice and/or the ability to change if you didnt like the lawyer? Did you use the service? Did you think you got good value? Are you still a member?
Any and all info very much appreciated...just dont wait two weeks and then ask me to call your main 800 number!