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But does it perform as its advertisements say?
Well, you can read our detailed LegalZoom review right below and see whether it’s worth it!
LegalZoom: A Brief History
LegalZoom was founded in 2001 by Robert Shapiro and Brian Lee. The company is headquartered in Glendale, California. LegalZoom provides online legal document preparation services for individuals and small businesses in the United States. Services include incorporation, LLC formation, trademarks, living trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and legal documents for family matters.
They presented themselves as ‘disruptive innovators, ’ meaning that their mission is to revolutionize the current market of legal services by adding automatization and technology.
And they pretty much succeeded.
In 2011, LegalZoom landed 27th place in the Business Insider rating of the most valuable start-ups. A year later, in September 2012, LegalZoom partnered with QualitySolicitors, a UK-based legal service provider.
A significant milestone for the company came in 2015 when it became the first US firm to be granted an alternative business structure license by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in England and Wales. This allowed them to open a UK office and offer more services to their clients.
LegalZoom sold Beaumont Legal, a conveyance firm based in Wakefield, West Yorkshire it had acquired in 2015, to Co-op Legal Services. However, using the developed technology and platform, they aim to make the business more efficient and customer-centric.
In other words, LegalZoom is constantly growing, innovating, and expanding its services to stay ahead of the curve and meet the needs of its customers.
So, let’s jump right into reviewing LegalZoom’s main features. They’re conveniently arranged in two groups:
- Business features. These include business registration — as an LLC, corporation, ‘Doing Business As’, nonprofit, or sole proprietorship, as well as different operational services (registered agent, business compliance, tax filings, obtaining foreign qualification or corporate amendments, etc.). Plus, LegalZoom can take care of your intellectual property by registering a trademark, patent, or helping you get a copyright.
However, I found that I had to pay higher on this service to access some these features during review.
- Personal features. If you need legal guidance in your personal life, you can also count on LegalZoom. The company offers you a broad variety of services, such as filing divorce paperwork or documentation for a name change. They can also help you make a will or file for a residential lease or estate plan.
Also, you can get a professional attorney consultation via LegalZoom. They gathered a network of professionals in different legal fields, so you can always count on detailed guidance or expert opinion.
And, as a cherry on top, LegalZoom has an article center, which is available for everyone. So if you want to educate yourself on a certain topic, you might go there for answers.
What Makes LegalZoom Unique?
LegalZoom has been around for over 20 years and is one of the most popular online legal services. In that time, they’ve helped over four million customers with their legal needs.
This experience and reputation mean that you can trust LegalZoom to provide high-quality legal services.
Additionally, because they are so popular, they have a lot of positive reviews online that you can read to learn more about their services. These reviews give you a good idea of what to expect when using LegalZoom.
If all this selection of features doesn’t seem enough for you to make LegalZoom stand out among others, here’s a quick peek at some unique advantages of this service:
- Extended customer service working hours. Their customer support is available via the phone or the contact form on the website, and you can consult them from 8 am to 10 pm ET during weekdays and from 10 am to 7 pm ET on weekends. This is especially valuable for those who don’t have a conventional working schedule or travel often.
Asides their impressive availability, I liked the speedy customer support service during my review.
- 60-day refund guarantee. LegalZoom cares about your customer satisfaction and will offer you a full refund — except state fees — within 60 days of placing your order. Plus, their additional services come with a 10-day free trial, so you can use them and decide whether it’s worth it before spending money.
I noticed the 60-day refund policy was longer than other competing services I reviewed.
- Millions of successful customers. By now, LegalZoom has passed 4 million business formations and counting. Not only it’s an impressive number, but it also shows the company’s expertise and the ability to communicate every customer’s needs to the state.
Now, let’s talk about the most essential part of the LegalZoom review:
How much will their services cost you?
So, LegalZoom offers its customers three pricing points:
- Economy ($149 + state fees). Aside from paperwork, this package also includes a business name availability check, round-the-clock customer support, tax savings analysis, digital storage for your documentation and the ‘what’s next?’ guide that will help you clarify the next steps after registering your business with the state.
- Standard ($329 + state fees). You get the Economy pack but with an expedited processing time. Also, LegalZoom will create a corporate seal for your business and a binder with your corporate name to keep the paperwork organized.
- Express Gold ($349 + state fees). All the benefits of the Standard package, plus faster processing time with the state and express shipping of the final documents to your doorstep.
Aside from the basic packages, LegalZoom offers you a bunch of corresponding features and add-ons.
And this is the tricky part because some of these services are essential, such as a registered agent and compliance, but they aren’t included in any package. So you have to purchase them separately, which adds a lot of expense to what is already a bit overpriced.
Anyway, let’s take a look at what LegalZoom has to offer:
- Professional corporation formation ($50). Professional corporations, or PLLC, are required for certain professionals, such as attorneys, architects, dentists, doctors, etc. LegalZoom will help you obtain approval from the state licensing service, which is needed to form a PLLC.
- S-corporation status ($60). If you think that you qualify for an S-corporation status with a pass-through taxation model, you may apply for it with LegalZoom for an additional fee.
- A registered agent ($249/ year). LegalZoom will act as your registered agent service with a legal business address and contacts, which adds a layer of protection for your data.
- Essential documents ($99-249/year). You can choose from three packages: $99 contains company bylaws and resolutions; for the additional $60, you can obtain the Federal tax ID, and if you choose the most expensive $249 package, you can count on various licenses and permits for your business.
- Legal Protect service ($39.99/month). This includes attorney guidance on setting up your business and the following support and advice in the form of 30-minute consultations via the phone.
- Compliance ($280/year). LegalZoom will take care of all the important annual reports, license updates, and other paperwork to keep your business in good standing with the state.
That’s a lot of upsells, and navigating through them to the checkout page may seem a bit annoying for some. However, if you want a service that manages all the tedious paperwork for you, you might want to spend extra money.
How Does LegalZoom Compare to Other Services?
Finally, let’s see if LegalZoom will stand a chance against other business formation services available on the market:
- LegalZoom vs Zenbusiness. Zenbusiness was launched in 2015, which makes it a relatively new company. Both LegalZoom and Zenbusiness have three price points, but the latter is significantly cheaper while offering the same amount of features. You can save about $100 on Zenbusiness basic package, which, by the way, includes free registered agent service for the first year, so it’s an obvious win.
- LegalZoom vs Incfile. Incfile offers you a free registered agent and a free LLC formation if you subscribe to their Silver plan, which makes it even cheaper than Zenbusiness. Plus, Incfile filing speed is significantly faster than LegalZoom can offer.
- LegalZoom vs BizFilings. Bizfilings basic package is $99 + state fees, which is $50 cheaper than the LegalZoom Economy package. Plus, Bizfilings offer you 6 months of the registered agent service and has a convenient incorporation wizard that helps you select a preferred business entity.
As you can see, LegalZoom stands out for its expertise and track record, and if these are the qualities you look for in a business formation service, it’s worth checking them out.
Pros and Cons: Overview
|Trustworthy and experienced||A lot of upsells and hidden services|
|Impressive track record||Registered agent isn’t included in any package|
|Can handle the paperwork for any type of business entity||Falls into a more expensive category|
|Customer service with extended working hours||Slow operation time for Economy and Standard packages|
|Offers you guidance on intellectual property registration||Mixed user reviews|
|10-day free trial for additional services|
|60-day money-back guarantee without hassle|
|Their compliance service is one of the best in the industry|
|Has an ongoing blog, which is available to anyone|
|Convenient website and virtual office|
Who Should and Shouldn’t Subscribe to LegalZoom?
Okay, that was a lot of information, but our LegalZoom review is close to the end, so let’s clarify, who should choose this service over the others, and who might want to look for other opportunities?
Well, you will probably benefit from LegalZoom if:
- You need only bare necessities. The only difference between LegalZoom packages is in the formation speed. During my review, I noticed that Legalzoom offered the basic features you’ll need when forming an LLC.
- You want to register your business as quickly as possible. If you subscribe to the Express Gold package, you’ll be able to rush your business formation and register it in 7-10 working days, with the two-day delivery of your documents. For reference, the formation speed in the Economy package is 30 working days (6 weeks), and with the Standard package, you’ll have to wait for 15 working days (3 weeks).
- You value the company’s reputation and track record. LegalZoom has served millions of people and is well-known outside the US. So if you want to trust your business formation to a reliable provider, then LegalZoom is unbeatable.
- You want solid compliance management. LegalZoom compliance service is one of the most accurate in the industry, and you can use it as a standalone feature. Plus, the company will cover any penalties if they miss a deadline, which is another appealing advantage.
You may want to search for another provider if:
You need a cheaper service. Legalzoom is among the most expensive services I tested. So, if you’re on a tight budget, this service may not be for you, and you still have to pay for some features, such as registered agent service or compliance, which adds over $500 per year to the initial price.
Is LegalZoom reliable?
LegalZoom is present in the media for almost two decades now and has millions of successful business launches, which proves their reliability.
How quickly will LegalZoom process my order?
To be fair, LegalZoom is one of the slowest services when it comes to formation speed. Their basic Economy package will have you waiting for 30 business days (6 weeks). The Standard package is two times faster and will register your business in 15 working days (3 weeks). The Express Gold package is the fastest (7-10 working days).
The good news is that the formation speed is tied rather to the package you select than to the actual state requirements, so if you want to speed it up, just choose the Express Gold package.
Is LegalZoom nationwide?
Yes, LegalZoom operates in all 50 states.
Does LegalZoom offer any discounts?
No, LegalZoom doesn’t have any discounts or promo codes, although we think that it would be useful, regarding the company’s pricing.
Does LegalZoom have refunds?
LegalZoom has a 60-day money-back guarantee and will provide you with a full refund within this period, no question asked. Plus, they offer a 10-day trial period for their additional services, and you can cancel it anytime.
So, let’s wrap up our experiences with LegalZoom.
This service is a bit of a mixed bag: it has a long-term history on the market and an impressive track record, but its pricing and a lot of hidden services that can wind up your final price are a bit upsetting.
However, if you’re looking for a company that will help you register your business quickly and offer solid services to keep it running and maintain good standing with the state — there are almost no alternatives to LegalZoom.
Hours of Research