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In today’s fast-paced world, time is of the essence, and legal matters can be both time-consuming and overwhelming. This is where online legal services such as LegalZoom come into play.
Since its inception, LegalZoom has been a popular choice for individuals and small businesses looking for affordable and accessible legal solutions. However, with so many online legal service providers in the market, it can be difficult to determine which one is the right fit for your needs.
In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive LegalZoom review for 2023 to help you make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the right option for you.
What Is LegalZoom?
LegalZoom is one of the first do-it-yourself platforms with a focus on a user-friendly experience, designed for quick and easy preparation from start to finish, all without having to leave the comfort of home.
If you are at the beginning stages of forming an LLC and you’re considering using LegalZoom, let’s begin by taking a look at how LegalZoom may benefit you.
- Affordable: LegalZoom can be considered affordable, especially for individuals and small businesses that don’t have the budget to hire a lawyer for legal services. It also offers a free plan for simple LLC formation needs.
In addition, LegalZoom also offers a refund policy within the first 60 days if you are unhappy with the services and will process your refund within five business days.
- Customization: LegalZoom offers a wide range of customizable legal documents to meet your specific needs. The platform offers over 150 legal forms for business and personal needs, all created by attorneys. Choose your form, customize it to your needs, and print, store, or share for later.
- Convenience: Legal services and phone support are easily available online and over the phone, eliminating the need for in-person visits and saving time and money.
LegalZoom offers a (BPA) Business Advisory Plan, giving you ongoing access to its vetted network of attorneys for less than $50 per month.
- Expertise: LegalZoom provides access to experienced tax professionals and an independent network of attorneys who can provide legal advice. LegalZoom has attorneys who are licensed in every state and have knowledge about both federal and local state laws.
- Support: LegalZoom provides customer care phone support and sales phone support, Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT and weekends from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. In addition, you can submit questions online through email or chat.
Our Verdict on LegalZoom
LegalZoom is an online service provider dedicated to helping you start your business properly, with the mission to make the process of your business formation easy. If you are looking to start a limited liability company (LLC) and need assistance, LegalZoom will complete and file the paperwork for you.
LegalZoom will also provide additional tools, important information, legal forms, and legal advice (for additional fees).
LegalZoom believes every business deserves the full protection of the legal system and therefore has an independent network of experienced attorneys to provide you with legal advice if you select a package that includes this.
In addition, not only is LegalZoom a great option for setting up an LLC, but it’s a one-stop solution, providing legal help for every part of your life, including personal, family, or intellectual property.
How LegalZoom Works?
Now that you know what LegalZoom is and how it can benefit you, you’re probably wondering how it works. The process is fairly simple, but we’ll put it in its simplest form so you’ll have a general idea.
The first step to getting started with LegalZoom is to create an account. From there, you’ll want to select the type of document you need as well as answer a series of questions to customize the document. In this case, it would pertain to an LLC, so you’ll select the “Form an LLC” option.
After you complete the form, LegalZoom will then create the document and provide you with a copy to review and sign. If you would like to have your documents reviewed by an attorney before signing, you may do so for an additional fee.
Once the document has been signed, LegalZoom stores it in a secure online repository for easy access. LegalZoom will review your filing documents for accuracy and make sure they go to the right place at the state level to officially register your LLC.
What Sets LegalZoom Apart?
There’s no doubt that LegalZoom offers a variety of resources as well as a wide range of legal services, but how does LegalZoom stand out from its competitors? Let’s take a close look.
- Free Version: LegalZoom is one of the few platforms that offers a free version to its customers. This option includes articles of organization, a name check, a digital welcome packet, and a customizable website.
While most other platforms offer the basic necessities, they do not offer a customizable website for free. Although you can start an LLC without the help of a service platform, some find it valuable to work with a professional service. The free service plans can be appealing since they come with perks that are not otherwise included if you file yourself.
- Customizable Website: LegalZoom has partnered with Wix to generate a fully functional website that you can customize to your needs.
Existing businesses and new businesses in the formation stage will be able to easily start their business and create an online presence with a ready-made site created by Wix.
LegalZoom’s intention for including this feature is to help empower entrepreneurs and support their growth. If you’re a new business in need of a website, you might find this helpful to get you up and running. If you already have your website in the works, you might not find this feature necessary.
- Mobile App: LegalZoom offers a mobile app for all of its LLC and corporation customers. The app allows you to manage and track the formation process from anywhere.
It gives you the ability to schedule appointments with experts, get and access business formation and official digital documents, track the status of your paperwork, and resolve any issues that pop up.
It also offers unlimited cloud storage so you can securely share, save and view your documents.
- Additional Services: LegalZoom not only gives you the free version with the basic necessities, but if you opt for the paid plans, you’ll have access to a variety of professional guidance from tax specialists to registered agents, insurance agents, and an extensive network of attorneys.
On top of that, you can also file for an Employer Identification number (EIN), file for a DBA (Doing Business As), and get an operating agreement and annual reports as add-ons.
- Satisfaction Guaranteed: LegalZoom has a refund policy offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee within the first 60 days of purchase if you are unhappy with the service. Refunds are processed within five business days.
- One-Stop Shop: LegalZoom not only provides help for your business but for all other areas of your life as well, including wills, power of attorney, estate planning, trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
Not all service platforms include this, so if you are looking for more than just a business formation, LegalZoom is a great option.
If you are ready to form an LLC or want professional advice, LegalZoom offers three plans to choose from, the Basic plan, the Pro plan, or the Premium plan. As an add-on, LegalZoom also offers a Business Advisory Plan. Let’s take a look at each plan to see what best meets your needs.
The Basic Plan
If you want to do most of the work yourself and only need the essentials, this may be the plan for you. This plan includes the articles of organization, which is the document you need to officially register your LLC with the state.
It also has a name check service to check that your business name is available, as well as a digital welcome packet that includes a step-by-step guide to follow after your LLC is registered.
On top of that, It also includes a customizable website for your business powered by Wix. This plan gives you everything you need to make your business official. This plan is free, but remember you will still have to pay state filing fees. Also, take note this package does not include any access to an attorney.
The Pro Plan
This plan gives you everything you need and more to form your LLC. It includes everything the Basic plan offers and then some. The Pro plan includes an operating agreement, which is a legal document that outlines the rules and guidelines for your LLC.
It also includes an EIN (Employer Identification number), which is the tax ID number assigned to businesses for tax filing and reporting purposes.
In addition, the Pro plan includes a complete guide to business licenses for your specific location and industry. It also includes a consultation with an insurance agent and a tax consultation with a small business specialist. This plan starts at $249 plus state filing fees.
The Premium Plan
This plan gives you everything the Basic plan and the Pro plan include and more. This plan starts at $299 plus state filing fees and includes one-day LegalZoom expedited processing time and prioritization within the Secretary of State’s queue (in states where applicable).
As a solid, low-cost option for small businesses that don’t have their own lawyers, LegalZoom was included as one of Forbes Advisor’s Best LLC Services.
LegalZoom wants legal help to be accessible to all in a less expensive way. Therefore, it has created a directory of attorneys from all over the country as part of its network.
For less than $50 per month, the Business Advisory Plan gives you access to its attorneys, who provide legal advice on all matters from business formations and estate planning to intellectual property, family law, and more.
If you are looking to save on attorney fees, this service option can save you $300 per hour or more in lawyer fees and provide you with more than one area of expertise. LegalZoom also offers a variety of resources to help individuals with their legal needs, such as an online library of legal information.
All LLCs are required to have a registered agent, but It can be costly to use LegalZoom as a third-party agent at $299 per year. If you are the face of your business and you reside in the state of your LLC, you or someone you know can be the registered agent at no cost.
The purpose of a registered agent is to receive legal documents, letters, or important tax documents, so unless you have multiple LLCs in multiple states or you have a need to stay anonymous, you can certainly be your own registered agent and save the cost. The downside, your information will be available to the public.
In order to properly start an LLC, it’s important to check with your state LLC formation guides for information that’s specific to your state.
In this case, you can do most of the work yourself, but LegalZoom offers multiple ways to meet your needs and more. Let’s take a look at just some of its main features to see how LegalZoom can provide you with a business formation service.
Online Document Preparation
LegalZoom offers a library of over 150 legal documents that can be customized, prepared, and filed online or printed, stored, or shared. These include wills, trusts, LLCs, copyrights, trademarks, affidavit forms, real estate forms, and so much more.
LegalZoom helps customers form and register a business entity, such as an LLC, corporation, nonprofit, DBAa, or sole proprietorship. Name check service LegalZoom offers a name check search to confirm that your business name is available to use. This feature is available in the free plan.
LegalZoom helps you create an operating agreement starting at $99 for the Standard plan or $199 for the Rush plan if you buy it separately. It’s included free with the second-and third-tier LLC formation plans.
Digital Welcome Packet
After your LLC is officially registered, LegalZoom will send you a digital welcome packet that includes a step-by-step checklist to follow. This feature is available in the free plan.
Articles of Organization
LegalZoom provides you with articles of organization, which is the legal document used to establish your LLC at the state level. This feature is available in the free plan.
LegalZoom has partnered with Wix to offer immediate access to a personalized website, customizable for your business at the time of formation. This feature is available in the free plan.
LegalZoom provides secure document storage and retrieval services. Customers can store and access their legal documents online.
LegalZoom offers a wide range of legal forms and templates that customers can use to customize, create, download, and print. For example, mutual NDA, independent contractor agreement, and consulting services agreement, just to name a few.
LegalZoom provides immediate and ongoing legal support with access to a network of attorneys for less than $50 per month.
Registered Agent Services
LegalZoom offers to represent you as the registered agent for your business at $299 per year.
LegalZoom Customer Service and Support
Having a good customer experience can lead to an impactful and favorable outcome. It’s a crucial aspect of customer satisfaction and product experience.
We took a close look at how LegalZoom measures up by evaluating its most recent customer service reviews and interacting with them firsthand.
Wait time: Forbes Advisor had firsthand experience calling LegalZoom and experienced very little wait time. The time we recorded was around one minute before a representative became available.
Representatives: Most recent online reviews suggest agents are very helpful, patient, and knowledgeable as they guide you through the process of setting up an LLC. So, if it’s your first time setting up an LLC, there’s no need to worry, as they will walk you through each step, leaving you feeling confident.
The chat option can also help walk you through the process by connecting you with a human being. Our firsthand experience with customer service was very pleasant, as the agent was very kind and helpful.
Resolutions: Most recent reviews suggest the majority of customers with questions and/or difficulties setting up their LLC were resolved quickly, leaving them feeling satisfied with the outcome.
LegalZoom provides multiple methods of contact and support through phone, email, or an online chat forum. You can contact customer care at (888) 379-0854, or for sale inquiries, call (855) 787-1922.
Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT, or weekends 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. LegalZoom does not offer 24/7 support. You may also submit questions online by entering your contact information under the “submit a question” tab through the “contact us” page.
LegalZoom also has online chat support, but in order to use this feature, you must enter your name and email with the option of also giving your phone number.
Once entered, the chat forum will pop up, and an agent will be available to chat. Take note, if you do decide to enter your phone number, you are agreeing to allow LegalZoom to call you about your order or special offers.
LegalZoom Reviews from Real Users – How Legit Is It?
To save you some time, we looked through a ton of online LegalZoom reviews to find out what real people thought based on their personal experiences with the service. This will help you get a solid answer to the question of whether LegalZoom is a legit service and if it works.
LegalZoom has a rating of 3.41 stars from 1,128 reviews, indicating that most customers are generally satisfied with their purchases. Reviewers satisfied with LegalZoom most frequently mention a great job, live chat, and new business.
Alternatives to LegalZoom
They provide affordable and comprehensive LLC formation packages, including registered agent services, annual report filing, and other features. ZenBusiness also offers ongoing support and resources to help businesses stay compliant and succeed. Read this ZenBusiness review if you need more information.
Swyft Filings is an LLC formation service specializing in fast and easy LLC formation. They offer a wide range of LLC services, including incorporation, compliance, and registered agent services.
Swyft Filings also provides personalized support to help businesses navigate the LLC formation process and stay compliant with state and federal regulations. Read our Swyft Filings review for a more in-depth look at this service.
Tailor Brands is an online branding and design service that helps businesses create a professional and cohesive brand identity.
They offer a range of branding packages that include logo design, business card design, and social media branding. Tailor Brands also provides a suite of design tools and resources to help businesses create and customize their own branded assets. Read our Tailor Brands review for a more in-depth look at this service.
LegalZoom Review – Frequently Asked Questions
Does LegalZoom Have an App?
A LegalZoom app is available for download from the Apple App Store but isn’t offered on the Google Play site.
The app allows LegalZoom’s LLC and corporation customers to manage the formation process via their iOS devices, including problem resolution, digital document delivery, and unlimited cloud storage for your business’s files.
What Add-on Services Does LegalZoom Offer?
LegalZoom sells a full gamut of legal services for businesses and individuals in addition to its three LLC formation packages:
- Forming an S corporation, C corporation, or nonprofit
- Corporate changes and filings
- Trademark, patent, and copyright registrations
- Real estate transactions
- Legal forms and agreements
- Franchise disclosure and legal document reviews
The company’s services supporting LLCs and other business types include the following:
- Annual reports
- Registered agent
- Operating agreements
- Bylaws and resolutions
- State tax IDs
- Business licenses
- Seller’s permits
- Foreign qualifications
- Certificates of Good Standing
- Business legal plans
- Business emails through Google Workspace
Does LegalZoom Have a Refund Policy?
LegalZoom’s “satisfaction guarantee” promises refunds within 60 days of purchase if you are not satisfied with the service, excluding filing fees, taxes, and other payments to government agencies.
Also excluded from the refund guarantee are fees paid to third parties “with a role in processing your order,” such as courier fees or funds paid directly to attorneys or other third parties affiliated with LegalZoom legal plans or attorney-assisted products. The company states that it processes requests for refunds within five business days.
Bottom Line on LegalZoom Review
LegalZoom is one of the most experienced business formation providers in the market. It offers versatile legal services, great customer support, and access to ongoing legal advice for a flat monthly fee.
Although its one-off services are not the cheapest out there, LegalZoom’s lead-in formation packages allow businesses to form their businesses easily without breaking the bank.
With this in mind, for those looking for reliability and experience from an industry leader, LegalZoom is the perfect option for your business formation and online legal service needs.
About the author
Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, a distinguished legal scholar with a business law degree and a Doctor of Juridical Science, is a leading expert in business registration and diverse business departments. Renowned for his academic excellence and practical insights, Dr. Sterling guides businesses through legal complexities, offering invaluable expertise in compliance, corporate governance, and registration processes.
As an accomplished author, his forthcoming book is anticipated to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the dynamic intersection of law and business, providing clarity and practical wisdom for entrepreneurs and legal professionals alike. With a commitment to legal excellence, Dr. Alexander Sterling, Esq, is a trusted authority dedicated to empowering businesses within the ever-evolving legal landscape.