THE FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF LEGAL INSURANCE
Although many of life’s most significant financial events have a legal component, not everyone can easily access legal representation. With a group legal benefits plan in place, those who might hesitate to seek legal help have an attorney close at hand
Because the coverage included in your group’s U.S. Legal Services legal insurance plan may vary, please check with your group’s administrator for specific benefit details.
Whether you experience an unexpected finance-related event that requires legal assistance or simply want to stay prepared, a group legal benefits plan can help plan members better manage financial matters such as these:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy For Individuals
Unlike chapter 13 bankruptcies, chapter 7 doesn’t involve a repayment plan. With chapter 7, simply stated, nonexempt assets are sold and the proceeds used to pay creditors. Initiating a chapter 7 case starts with filing a petition with the debtor’s area bankruptcy court. Several other documents must also be filed, such as a schedule of assets and liabilities, statement of financial affairs, schedule of current income and expenditures, and more. If the individual’s debt is primarily consumer debt, additional documents must be filed, including a certificate of credit counseling and a copy of any debt repayment plan the counseling created.
While some people choose to represent themselves when filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, often because they can’t afford an attorney’s services, legal representation can help in a number of ways. An individual who doesn’t have a complete understanding of bankruptcy may not know that alternatives exist, or they may choose the wrong chapter, which can result in losing valuable property or not achieving the desired outcome of discharging certain debts.
From properly filing all of the required documents to guidance through the process, an attorney can help reduce the stress of filing chapter 7 bankruptcy and ensure it’s the right course of action.
Real Estate Matters
For most people, buying or selling real estate is the single largest financial transaction they will ever make. Although most states do not require you to hire an attorney for real estate transactions, real estate agents can’t offer legal advice. Having the services of an experienced legal professional at hand can help ensure a smooth and satisfactory experience and protect your financial position.
Those struggling with debt may understandably hesitate to spend money hiring an attorney. With a legal insurance plan already in place, however, plan members can get legal help negotiating with creditors to improve their financial prospects.
An attorney can help you understand the laws that govern what creditors can and cannot do to collect on a debt, and work with creditors to negotiate a settlement, such as an agreement to accept a reduced lump sum or develop a repayment schedule. Examples of the types of debt-related issues with which an attorney may be able to assist include foreclosure, repossession or garnishment, tax agency debt collection, personal debt collection and more.
Identity theft can cause financial problems in a number of ways, from a one-time fraudulent use of a credit card, to completely taking over one’s bank account. With a group legal plan that includes an identity theft program, plan members can access immediate assistance from fraud resolution experts who can guide members through the process of reporting identity theft occurrences and notifying the proper authorities and credit-reporting agencies, as well as assisting members with restoring their identity and good credit.
Estate planning isn’t just for wealthy individuals — nearly everyone can benefit from having estate planning documents in place. An attorney can help you prepare the most commonly used estate planning documents, including:
- Living wills, which specify your healthcare wishes for your loved ones and medical professionals should you not be able to communicate your wishes for yourself.
- Simple wills, which help make sure that your survivors will be provided for, direct how your assets and property should be distributed, and name guardians for your children.
- Trusts, which can be used to distribute assets and property before, upon, or after your death. Unlike wills, trusts are not required to go through probate.
- Power of attorney, which allows you to appoint a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to do so. A durable power of attorney also includes permission for your agent to take care of your financial affairs.
While some legal matters related to financial issues may be managed without the assistance of an attorney, most people can benefit from consulting an attorney to ensure their best interests are protected. Group legal insurance plans, such as the Family Defender™ and CDL Defender™, ensure that plan members are prepared when legal matters are related to financial issues.
This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. Each situation and matter is unique and should be discussed with a U.S. Legal Services network attorney.