Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who Is Involved In Legal Services? - A blog about Blogging and Online Marketing highly recommends Thesis Wordpress Theme for your blog!

When you subscribe to a pre-paid legal service, you are likely to deal with an attorney and a number of other individuals and organisations who are involved in one way or another with the service. It's important to understand the role of each participating party in a legal service plan, particularly when you're unhappy with the service or when fee disputes or any other litigation with your provider arises.

So, who is involved in your pre-paid legal arrangement?

Your Lawyer

You get to choose your attorney from a pool of attorneys in the network. Your lawyer is your point of contact for any phone advice or office consultation. He is the one who furnishes other legal services specified in your written agreement with your provider: he drafts your will, reviews simple contracts for you, writes letters on your behalf and makes phone calls to adverse third parties. If you are unsatisfied with the quality of work you are getting from your current attorney in the network then you have the choice of choosing alternate attorneys. You can also make a complaint to your provider's in-house charge of complaints.

If you benefit from legal services under a group plan scheme then there are a number of parties who are involved in this scheme. First the contracted firm, just as is the case with an individual plan, is the one which provides all the legal help through its network of attorneys. There are also two parties involved in the deal: a plan administrator and a plan sponsor.

A plan sponsor is the organisation you are member of, which sponsors your legal plan. Your sponsor can either choose to provide the legal services as a fringe-benefit, as is the case with most employers, pre-charge for the service - universities usually charge for any legal service as part of tuition fees - or charge low-costs, as do trade unions under a group-bargaining scheme.

Your plan administrator is the person appointed by your sponsor to arrange for the panel of lawyers from the contracted firm to provide services, collects all the fees paid into a pre-paid plan, publicizes the plan and handles enrolment and marketing. The administrator may be a an employee of the sponsor, an insurance company or an outside firm.

Regulating Authority

Authorities that regulate pre-paid plans provide you with an outline of how pre-paid legal services are managed and also an outlet in case there are any complaints. Individual pre-paid legal plans are generally regulated by your state department of consumer affairs. If you are an employee participating in a group plan funded by your employer, then the legal services are covered and regulated under the deferral Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who Regulates Pre-Paid Legal Plans? - A blog about Blogging and Online Marketing highly recommends Thesis Wordpress Theme for your blog!

Pre-paid legal service providers are required to provide either a written agreement of the services provided in their plans, or at least a written communication concerning the services covered, together with the fees to be charged for services not covered in the written agreement of membership.

However, most people gloss over "terms and conditions" and just sign the agreement assuming they are covered for most legal services. This usually gives rise to frequent complaints about the service, fee disputes and complaints about attorneys.

Generally, if you have any complaint with your service, you should first address any such complaint with your service provider. Contact them to get information regarding their in-house complaint process and settlement of disputes. If you are unsatisfied, then it helps to know who regulates your kind of legal insurance.

Your state's Department of consumer affairs licenses and regulates all pre-paid legal plans. Prepaid legal service companies are required to register with the department prior to commencing business and appoint a sales representative. Further regulation can be provided by your local bar association.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Types Of Prepaid Legal Services - A blog about Blogging and Online Marketing highly recommends Thesis Wordpress Theme for your blog!

Over 100 million Americans are signed up for pre-paid legal services. Also called legal insurance, these plans are similar to those provided by Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and cover the legal needs of the member, spouse and any dependent children.

In a prepaid legal service plan, the customer pays a fixed monthly subscription fee of up to $25 for the services of pre-selected lawyers. The most basic plans provide advice and consultation by telephone. Plan members receive a few hours of free office consultation with their assigned attorney. They may also include review and advice on simple legal documents, preparation, drafting or an update of a simple will. Phone calls and letters can be written on behalf of members, a service helpful for credit problems and consumer protection. More comprehensive plans cover clients' personal legal needs ranging from services that require more time and effort on the part of your attorney, such as contracts, wills and deeds, to legal representation in negotiations and courts cases related to family matters, bankruptcy and real estate issues.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Types of Legal Plans - A blog about Blogging and Online Marketing highly recommends Thesis Wordpress Theme for your blog!

A prepaid legal plan is a scheme based on the payment in advance of a set fee to defray the cost of providing future legal services to the members enrolled in the scheme. They vary in cost, scope of legal coverage provided and how the legal services are provided. We will look at the different types of pre-paid legal plans available in the United States and how to enrol into them

An individual pre-paid legal plan is readily accessible to the general public. There are two types of individual plans: access and comprehensive. An access pre-paid legal plan is the most basic plan. It is designed to give easy access to lawyer and a set of simple legal services for a low cost. Basic services furnished include unlimited toll-free phone access to your attorney for consultation and advice, letters written by the lawyer on your behalf, brief office consultation and the drafting or review of simple legal documents.

Complex legal issues not covered will be subject to an hourly or flat rate negotiatable with your provider

The comprehensive plan goes beyond basic legal services, to offer more complex and comprehensive coverage for a premium in cost. Generally, all the benefits of an access plan are provided at no cost to you, plus a broader range of services like drafting complicated legal documents, negotiations with adverse parties, legal representation in court cases such as divorce and child custody. They also cover all the costs involved in a legal litigation. Comprehensive plans typically start at $300 per year and are most beneficial to middle-class families.

A group legal plan is typically sponsored by an organization as a fringe benefit to its members. The lawyer or law firm contracted provides free or low-cost legal coverage to all members of the sponsoring organization. Employers, labour unions and even universities are now increasingly offering group legal plans to enhance the value of their benefits package and reduce the cost of administrative burden. Law firms are contracted to provide participating members telephone and office consultation for their most frequently needed legal matters. These typically include: Preparation of wills and trusts, document preparation and review, debt and real estate matters and family law.

Additional legal coverage can be contracted according to a fee schedule negotiable between the plan sponsor and provider, and publicised to participating members.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Access Legal Plan - A blog about Blogging and Online Marketing highly recommends Thesis Wordpress Theme for your blog!

Pre-paid legal plans come in a variety of types depending on the scope of legal coverage they provide.

The most basic pre-paid plan is designed to make the simple legal services readily available to the general public at low cost. These plans typically cost between $10 and $30 per month, billed in advance. You get unrestricted toll-free number telephone access to a lawyer for legal advice and consultation. You can also make brief office consultations to talk to your lawyer about any legal problems you may be encountering. Your lawyer can also write to letters or make phone calls on your behalf. This can help resolve many problems before they escalate further. Other services provided are not overly time-consuming: the drafting of your will to distribute your property after your death, review of your trust and any other simple legal document.

If you require any other service beyond the scope of a basic plan, then you can either pay discounts on regular lawyer fees or pay a premium to upgrade to a more comprehensive plan.