Chances are, you’ll need a lawyer more than once in your life to help with different legal issues and paperwork — like closing on a new home, creating a will or even dealing with a minor traffic violation. Have you thought about how your family’s household budget could support unexpected legal fees?
Having access to a team of thousands of fully vetted attorneys on retainer to help you with your legal needs, even those you haven’t thought of yet, are covered might seem like a luxury. But a prepaid legal plan may be available through your workplace, and it’s a lot cheaper and easier to use than you may realize.
As you’re navigating open enrollment this year, here are three things you need to know about this valuable under-the-radar benefit.
1. If you have kids, you need a lawyer.
Why? Well, what happens if your greatest fear as a parent is realized and you’re not around anymore? Who will be the guardian for your children? How will you make sure your assets benefit your children? Legal plans cover the creation of some of the most common documents associated with making arrangements for children, like wills, guardianship, and even designating a loved one or friend to sign a legal document for you in the event that you become disabled. Legal plans can also help with legal issues that can arise throughout children’s school-age years and beyond like administrative hearings or special needs accommodations at school, and even juvenile court defense for traffic infractions for young drivers.
2. Both renting and buying a home can spark legal needs or issues.
With every address change, you and your family will likely have legal needs to deal with. If you’re buying a new home, legal plans can provide access to attorneys to review and draft documents, and cover lawyers’ fees associated with closing on a home. For renters, this benefit covers legal services associated with a host of common rental issues like leasing contracts and disputes, eviction and more.
3. A whole year of legal plan monthly premiums can be less than one hour of attorney fees.
A legal plan costs only about $20 a month through a payroll deduction — or $240 a year. The average cost of one hour of an attorney’s time is $338 an hour . For even more perspective, the average cost to resolve an identity theft incident, including indirect costs like legal fees, is over $1,300. And a typical lawyer fee to handle a traffic ticket or moving violation would likely be upwards of over $300, as resolution would likely take an hour or more of a lawyer’s time. Both identity theft protection and resolution services and minor traffic violation defense can be completely covered under a legal plan through your employer.
This open enrollment season, check with your HR department to see if a legal plan is offered as a voluntary benefit option through your workplace (or ask your partner to check with his or her employer).