Best Online Legal Services

How to get legal help online

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Online legal services provide a legitimate alternative to traditional law firms by offering simple forms for personal and business use. They can save time and money for people with basic legal needs who don’t want to hire a lawyer. 

The best online legal services are affordable, offer a variety of documents and forms, have a team of legal experts to review your documents, and have user-friendly websites. Read on for our expert list of the best online legal services to help you choose the best one for your needs.

Best Online Legal Services for 2021

Best Overall : LegalZoom


LegalZoom

 LegalZoom

Why We Chose It: From affidavits to waivers, LegalZoom’s broad range of personal and business legal forms makes it easy to find whatever you’re looking for in one affordable place. 

What We Like
  • Large inventory of legal forms

  • Website is easy to navigate

  • All prices are per form

  • Access to their attorney network

What We Don’t Like
  • Individual forms are more expensive than competitors

  • A broad variety of forms mean they don’t specialize in any one category

  • No online view or download of forms

Since 2001, LegalZoom has helped over four million customers and is one of the oldest and most well-known online legal services. It offers a comprehensive library of legal forms, including wills, power of attorney, name change, and deed transfers. It also offers legal forms for businesses such as trademark registration, LLC incorporation, and 501(c)(3) applications. 

The price for the personal legal documents ranges from $29 for basic forms through $279, making it an affordable service. You can also bundle services, making it even more cost-effective. For example, you can get a full estate plan with last will and testament for $179 which includes unlimited revisions. Note that for some forms, the price may change based on where you live and if they require a filing fee. Document updates are typically free, so there’s no cost if you need to change or add anything to your form.

In addition to a comprehensive library of legal forms, LegalZoom has a network of attorneys available for consultations. For $36 per month, you can get six months of access to the attorney network which includes full access to the legal forms library. 

It is important to note that, because LegalZoom’s documents are reviewed by an attorney and are not computer-generated, they are not available for online view or download. If you need a form immediately, LegalZoom might not be the best choice and you might want to consider another online service. 

LegalZoom offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you're not happy with their service, you can contact the company directly to process a refund of any payments.

Best for Estate Planning : Trust & Will


Trust & Will

Trust & Will

Why We Chose It: Trust & Will offers an affordable last will starting at $89 and $399 for a living trust. And because partners and spouses each need their own estate plan, it offers a couples discount on your second will or trust.

What We Like
  • User-friendly experience from start to finish

  • Discount for couples

  • Complimentary shipping of your documents

  • Customer service available via chat on the website

What We Don’t Like
  • Ongoing annual cost for updates and access

  • Expensive to add attorney support

  • Not good for complex family situations

Trust & Will is our top choice for those looking to draw up a last will or living trust. The company’s goal is to make estate planning as simple and accessible as possible. You can make a will in about 15 minutes and they will mail you your completed documents for free along with instructions to make them legally binding.

For those who aren’t sure which estate planning documents are right for them, Trust & Will offers a quiz to guide you to the right forms or let you know if an attorney is a better option. For both the trust and will, you get a complete set of state-specific estate planning documents and a full year of revisions. After the first year, you’ll pay $12 per year to maintain access and make updates. 

While it’s a great choice for many, Trust & Will can’t cover unique situations such as if you have a business, investment property, children from a different spouse or partner, or other complex family situations.

Trust & Will also makes contacting them simple using a chat feature on any page of its website. Customer service is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST on the weekends.

Best for Family Law Forms : Rocket Lawyer


Rocket Lawyer

 Rocket Lawyer

Why We Chose It: Rocket Lawyer has a wide range of family legal forms offering virtually every document you’ll need for simple personal matters.

What We Like
  • Access to an attorney to review your documents at an affordable rate

  • A broad range of forms beyond family law documents

  • Best option for prenuptial agreements

  • Offers a seven-day free trial

What We Don’t Like
  • Hard to know how long you’ll wait to have papers reviewed by an attorney

  • Free trial does not include access to an attorney

Rocket Lawyer is another online legal service with a broad variety of forms but it's their selection of family law forms that make it our top choice. You can find many different documents for making sure your children are taken care of. This includes a Parenting Plan, which helps eliminate conflicts between divorcing parents, documents for child support payments, and child care agreements or nanny agreements. You even sign your documents online. You’ll also find a variety of business forms and prenuptial agreements, making it a comprehensive one-stop-shop. 

Although it boasts an impressive library of documents, what sets Rocket Lawyer apart from similar legal form providers is its Premium membership. For just $39.99 per month, you have access to attorney support via phone and the option to have an attorney review your papers before you file. Your membership includes a free 30-minute consultation on every new legal matter and up to 40% off when hiring one of their on-call attorneys. There is a seven-day free trial, but note that it doesn’t include access to an attorney.

The best part of RocketLawyer is that as you are answering the questions in the software prompts, you can type in queries about the question or the answer you are entering. Your inquiries will be reviewed and answered by a lawyer before you receive your final document. 

It isn’t clear how long you’ll wait to get documents reviewed by an attorney, as it doesn’t state on the website or in the terms of service what the maximum or average wait time is, so if you’re in a rush to complete the documents completed, you might want to choose another service.

Best For Divorce : 3StepDivorce


3StepDivorce

 3StepDivorce

Why We Chose It: 3StepDivorce specializes specifically in divorces only, and can have documents ready to file in just over half an hour. It also offers a money-back guarantee of court approval.

What We Like
  • Transparent pricing and the option to pay in installments

  • 100% guarantee of court approval

  • Documents ready in under an hour

  • Free Priority Mail delivery of documents

What We Don’t Like
  • Outdated website

  • No review of documents by an attorney

  • Not good for contested divorces

There are several reputable online divorce services, but our pick for the best is 3StepDivorce. It’s the oldest online divorce service, in business since 1997, and prides itself on being simple, affordable, and fast. It claims you can have divorce papers ready in under an hour.

3StepDivorce’s price is upfront and transparent. It charges a flat fee of $299 or you can pay in installments of two, three, or four monthly payments. It offers a guarantee that the forms you file will be accepted by the court or your money back and even offers free Priority Mail delivery of your documents. Forms are state and county-specific and address issues like property, debt, children, and more. 

3StepDivorce offers divorces in all 50 states. Unfortunately, if your divorce is contested, you won’t be able to use it. It also doesn’t provide attorneys to review your forms. If you have questions, live customer support is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Best for Real Estate : LawDepot


LawDepot

LawDepot 

Why We Chose It: LawDepot offers a host of easy-to-find real estate forms and customers praise the company for how easy it is to fill out complex forms using their service.

What We Like
  • Affordable rates for individual documents

  • Affordable annual subscription option for unlimited documents

  • Forms are thorough yet easy to fill out

  • If you buy a single form, you can reuse and modify it as many times as you want for up to five years

What We Don’t Like
  • The “Free Legal Documents” headline on the website is misleading

  • Individual document prices are hard to find

Our pick for this category, LawDepot, offers over 150 document templates including a variety of real estate forms such as residential and commercial leases, rent receipts, eviction notices, quitclaim deeds, land contracts, and more. In fact, if you need a real estate document, you can likely find it on the site.

LawDepot advertises that its forms are free but that’s not entirely the case. It offers a free one-week trial of its Pro subscription and once you exhaust that, you’ll need to pay for a license to print the documents, which can cost $33 per month after the free trial expires. You can opt for a one-year Pro subscription for $95.88 ($7.99 per month), or you can pay for single documents which cost a flat rate of $7.50–$119.

Should you buy a single document, you have the option to modify it as many times as you want for up to five years. But individual prices are hard to find unless you fill out an entire form. 

If you need help, there’s an online chat feature for support (although it can be difficult to find), but LawDepot offers live customer service hours from 8 a.m.–7 p.m. EST.

Best Mobile Experience : LegalNature


LegalNature

 LegalNature

Why We Chose It: LegalNature offers mobile-friendly documents for business, real estate, and personal matters that are simple, high-quality, and cost-effective.

What We Like
  • Mobile friendly

  • Affordable annual subscription

  • Option to download a Word file of your document

What We Don’t Like
  • Expensive monthly subscription

  • Interface may be too simple for those who want more control

LegalNature is easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile, making it our pick if you need a legal document on the go. It walks you step-by-step through every question to complete your form and the process looks clean and easy to navigate on a phone or tablet. You can complete family and personal documents as well as business and real estate ones, and you can download and print them upon completion. And if you want to make changes to a form, you can either answer the form questions again to create a new version or you can download a Word file and make changes there. 

Access to the full document library costs $38.95 per month or $84 for the year (billed annually). You can also sign up for a seven-day free trial.  Single documents start at $34.95. Business services and documents have their own pricing structure, so if that’s what you need, make sure you review those prices. 

LegalNature offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the service. 

There are a few things to be aware of if you plan to use LegalNature. For instance, the monthly version is quite pricey compared to other services. Those who want a customizable experience may find LegalNature a little too simple. And there’s also no chat feature for customer support. If you need to speak with someone, you’ll have to send an email or call Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. PST or Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m–1 p.m. PST.

Final Verdict

There is a range of options to choose from when looking for online legal help. Some services specialize in one thing while others are a one-stop-shop for almost every form available. While you can’t go wrong with any of these companies, LegalZoom is our top choice due to its affordable pricing, the number of forms available, and its easy-to-use website.

Whichever company you go with, make sure you are as forthright as possible wh

en filling out your forms. These services can save you money, but if your situation falls outside of the scope they can cover, you could end up paying a lot more for it later.

Compare Providers

Company Why We Picked It Cost
LegalZoom Broadest variety of forms for every legal need $29–$279 for individual documents, $36 for six months of attorney network access
Trust & Will Affordable estate planning documents with a discount for couples $12/year
Rocket Lawyer Broad variety of legal forms, especially for family law and prenuptial agreements, and access to attorney review on their Premium subscription $39.99/month
3StepDivorce Specializing in fast and easy divorces with affordable and transparent pricing $299 flat fee, available to pay in installments
LawDepot Broad variety of legal forms, especially for renters, homeowners, and landlords $95.88/year, $7.50–$119 for individual documents
LegalNature Simple and straightforward experience with a mobile-first user interface $$84/year, $34.95 for single documents

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Online Legal Services? 

Online legal services offer a cost-effective alternative to using a brick-and-mortar law firm or lawyer. They offer quick, convenient, and affordable legal services to customers who choose to represent themselves or have simple legal needs that can be handled with basic legal forms.

They can cover a range of services from estate planning to last wills and testament to lease agreements, business incorporations, uncontested divorces, and more. 

However, it’s important to note that online legal services are not typically law firms. They often employ attorneys and some even give the option for you to have your forms reviewed by one but for the most part, these companies do not offer legal advice, aren't law firms, nor are they acting as your attorney.


What Can Online Legal Services Do? 

An online legal service provider is not a law firm nor do they give legal advice. They offer legal forms that allow a customer to represent themself or connect customers with attorneys virtually to answer questions or review legal documents.

Completing a form on your own is less expensive than paying an attorney to do it for you, and you can get it more quickly as well. For example, if you create a will on a Friday evening, you can find several online estate planning services anytime day or night and have one drawn and completed in under an hour. With a traditional law firm, you might have to wait until Monday morning just to make an appointment.

Just remember that online legal services typically do not notarize or file your documents for you, so you’ll likely need to take care of that on your own and at an additional cost. Read all the related terms and conditions to find out what you need to do after you’ve created the documents, and make sure you’re doing it per your local and state laws. 


Who Should Use Online Legal Services?  

Online legal services are an excellent, affordable, and accessible way to gain access to legal forms that were once out of price range for many. Online legal services are great for anyone who needs a simple legal form and has access to a computer. With just a few clicks, you have a legally binding document (once it’s signed and notarized correctly) and, depending on the service you select, you have access to reputable lawyers who are there to answer your questions as you complete your documents. If your legal situation is straightforward and uncomplicated, you’re likely to save money and time by using one. 

However, if your situation is unique or complex in any way, you should call an attorney. Trying to use a standard form that may not cover all of your needs could leave you legally vulnerable, or worse, could result in nullification of the form altogether.


Are Online Legal Services Legitimate? 

Most online legal services are completely legitimate. They offer legal documents designed and sometimes reviewed by practicing attorneys. Choose a company with a money-back guarantee that ensures you’re satisfied with your services.

No online legal service can guarantee your form will be approved but many offer a guarantee that it will at least be filled out and filed correctly. We recommend steering clear of free online services. These forms can often leave out crucial language or be tailored to your specific needs, even if those needs are straightforward.


What Do Online Legal Services Charge?

Online legal help can cost anywhere from free to several hundred dollars per hour, depending on the type of service you need. If you need a single form, you’ll pay around $17 to $40 for a document that you can fill out once or have continued editing access for several years. 

If you have ongoing legal needs, such as a business owner or landlord, you may find a subscription to one of these online legal services to be more flexible. For those, you’ll pay anywhere from $7 to $40 per month for access to a full library of legal forms, and you might receive discounted rates to speak with an attorney.

Methodology

We evaluated over a dozen online legal services providers before choosing our top picks. We took into consideration how long the company had been in business, customer ratings and reviews, ease of use, and affordability. 

All services were required to give instant digital access to completed forms, have forms designed or reviewed by a lawyer, and/or offer a money-back guarantee if the form was not accepted.