Business Lawyer or LegalZoom?
What about using LegalZoom for my Business Formation or Estate Plan?
LegalZoom sells “do-it-yourself” wills, trusts and just about any other legal document you can wish for via the Internet. They offer rock-bottom prices and claim that ”virtually anyone” can create valid legal documents using LegalZoom’s site. Can this be true? Many LegalZoom customers across America have some cautionary tales…
Dissatisfied LegalZoom Customer tells the Real Story
Many angry customers have fallen for LegalZoom’s low prices and have ordered living trusts and entity formation kits only to find out there is no way to customize these critical documents. For example; Estate planning legal documents offer no way to change beneficiaries or direct who gets your 1964 Corvette or your priceless Boston Whaler fishing boat. There is no way to make the LegalZoom trust document customized to your specific wishes.
There are many LegalZoom Lawsuits Making News
In a recent class action lawsuit, Katherine Webster sued LegalZoom. Ms. Webster was the executor of an estate that used LegalZoom to create the trust document. According to Ms. Webster, she was forced to hire a lawyer to fix the numerous problems with the LegalZoom trust and had to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to remedy these problems. Webster claims LegalZoom engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices and misled customers with their claims that their documents were of comparable quality to those prepared by a Lawyer.
Ms. Webster states in her complaint that “Nowhere in the LegalZoom manual is it made clear that using LegalZoom is not the same as using an Attorney and that LegalZoom’s documents are only customized to the extent that the LegalZoom online service only inputs your name, but the resultant legal documents are not tailored to your specific circumstances.”
LegalZoom for Business Formation?
No legal advice can be given you. - The biggest, most common problem that LegalZoom and other do-it-yourself, or D.I.Y, websites has is their inability to give legal advice because they are not Lawyers. These companies are not allowed to tell you how to structure your company; They cannot legally advise you on the appropriate legal rights each owner should have, or what potential risks you are opening yourself and your company up to.
No observation of formalities. - Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s) and Corporations must observe legal and procedural formalities to maintain their entity status. To have your Business entity remain legal and offer you the protections you expect, you are required to follow certain rules such as holding annual shareholder meetings, electing directors, adopting shareholder agreements and bylaws, maintain required entity formalities etc.
The protections you need are all for nothing. - If you don’t comply with entity formation requirements, you unknowingly lose the protections you sought when setting up your business formation.
Multiple Business Owners. - When you have additional Business partners or Investors they are often considered significant shareholders. It is critical for your Business that you hire an experienced Business Lawyer to set-up and advise you and your shareholders on entity formalities and guidelines that will protect everyone. Additionally,it is a good idea to plan ahead for unforseen events such as; What happens if you find yourself in a dispute with your other shareholder? What happens if your shareholders want to bail out on you and sell their shares? What happens if one of your shareholder’s passes away? Does his or her spouse become your new business partner?
A Business Lawyer’s Job is to Protect You from the Start! - Well-written By-laws, well-crafted Shareholder Agreements, and thorough Buy-Sell Agreements can anticipate the most common disputes that are likely to arise. It is always better to negotiate these terms at the outset and set out these agreements in a well-written Business contract.
This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. If you would like to speak with Jonathan C. Watts about your unique business circumstance, please call him at 925-217-3255 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Business Lawyer Jonathan C. Watts understands that investing some time in getting your contracts in order, handling common legal transactions, or negotiating a lease should be cost-effective. And for those facing a current legal crisis, Jonathan C. Watts understands that “winning at all costs” can be an empty victory for a small business attentive to the bottom-line.
Jonathan C. Watts is also a Tax Attorney and is able to advise you and guide you to wise choices at the same time he is reviewing or drafting your mission-critical daily documents. Moreover, with virtually every business having a web presence these days, Jonathan’s Internet Law Expertise will help you protect yourself in your Internet Business activities. Jonathan’s clients get maximum value for every penny spent, without padded hours for unnecessary “additional services.”
Call my office to talk to me personally or to schedule an appointment. My offices are open 9 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and I make every effort to take your phone calls personally.
Call Jonathan: (925) 217-3255
|e-Mail Jonathan C. Watts||Map to Office|
|Call my office to talk to me personally or to schedule an appointment. My offices are open 9 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and I make every effort to take your phone calls personally. Call Jonathan: (925) 217-3255|