• compare using legal document preparer vs hiring a lawyer

Compare Using a Legal Document Preparer vs Hiring a Lawyer

The cost of legal help from a lawyer in California is often more than most people can afford. One low-cost alternative to hiring a lawyer is to use the services of a registered legal document preparer.  In order for a non-lawyer to prepare legal documents, they must be a registered legal document assistant. In contrast, a paralegal is not licensed nor qualified to provide legal document preparation services. The benefits of using a legal document preparer vs hiring a lawyer can mean the consumer will save thousands of dollars to complete their routine legal matters. If you need legal services, you may want to consider the benefits of using a legal document preparer vs hiring a lawyer. If you plan to represent yourself in a legal matter, a registered document assistant such as A People’s Choice can help you with your case.

What our Clients Say...
“Lightning fast response, I had my very simple document on the same day as my order for the very fair and reasonable price of $325 (including the rush fee!) compared to my attorney who quoted me 3 weeks and $2500. I will definitely use these folks again and highly recommend them!”
L. Carnes
“I can’t say enough about the level of service and professionalism I received working with A People’s Choice. Emails were always responded to quickly and thoughtfully. They really care about the process and helping you get the best result with no up-selling. Of course they can’t provide legal advice, but I was referred to an attorney when I needed some questions answered who was very reasonable and easy to get a hold of as well. The process played out according to plan and I ended up saving a lot of money by going with A People’s Choice over an attorney.”
M. Rice
“I want to personally thank the staff at A People’s Choice for making my divorce process so simple and painless. From my 1st contact in the office they were was warm and friendly and took the time to explain each step in a very simple and quick manner. Filing for a divorce can be a difficult and painful process and the staff was extremely professional and clear in all guidance and explanations. I highly recommend A People’s Choice.”
C. Hannon
“I am writing to give A People’s Choice my utmost recommendation. I live in New England and found them on the web. After speaking with a staff member on the phone I had the confidence to give them my business. A People’s Choice handled my probate case with great professionalism and knowledge. My case turned out to be more complicated than originally believed and the staff walked me through each step. They always responded promptly to my email questions. In the end, their service was exactly what I hoped for; they saved me thousands of dollars and allowed me to do it from across the country. They were truly a pleasure to work with.”
K. Levenson
“A People’s Choice helped us throughout our entire year-long probate making the process very easy and manageable while at the same time saving us thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees. Not only were they extremely friendly and fast to respond to our questions but they made the process simple enough that we hardly ever had to contact the courthouse directly and we even had a hearing done without an appearance. Would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!”
A. Vuckovich
“A People’s Choice is a very responsible and effective company, staff there is very nice and replied all my questions by emails pretty soon and helpful, with their help. I accomplished the probate in 8 months successfully and saved at least $10,000.00 in attorney fees, so I strongly recommend everybody to contract with A People’s Choice and let them to solve help you with your legal documents. You will be very satisfied with their work as I did!!!!”
C. Chiu
“Thank you A People’s Choice for saving me all of the headaches when I thought I could save money and file my own divorce paperwork. The court clerks offer no assistance whatsoever with simple questions and handed me another packet to figure out on my own. Trust me, the best advice I can give you is to call A People’s Choice first. They typed up my paperwork and my divorce was final in two weeks! I am so grateful to them and I would highly recommend them to everyone.”
L. Bayer
“I’m so glad I found this company to handle my divorce. They were very professional and detail oriented. They answered all of my (many) questions and kept me informed along the way. They handled everything for me from hundreds of miles away and made it pretty seamless. The pricing was in the exact range we were looking for. Very honest company and great to work with. Highly recommend them to anyone!”
Jessica J.
“A People’s Choice walked me through the entire probate process. They are so professional and helpful. Thank you to the staff for your guidance and patience to talk me through such difficult time. You made the process very smooth for me. I am so glad that I found you.” 
Sandie K.
“I would just like to comment on what a great job A People’s Choice did with my divorce. I have just received the final judgment and could not be happier. They told me up front what the cost would be. They also let me know how they keep the cost down by communicating through email. I also appreciated how when I had a question they got back with me in the day or in the evening. Thank You for your quick responses. A People’s Choice is a good deal for the consumer.”
R. Leyva
“The staff at A People’s Choice made a scary Probate pretty much stress free. I would send an email with a question I had thought of over the weekend with the expectation that I would get an answer on Monday. Lo and behold, I often got an answer within minutes! We are very pleased and will be referring our friends/family to A People’s Choice!”
L. Garrett
“Thanks to A People’s Choice I was able to get through a probate matter very smoothly. I had not one issue with the Court’s. They guided me through the whole probate until the very end. I live up north but that didn’t matter, A People’s Choice did an excellent job keeping me inform with everything that I needed to do. I saved THOUSANDS of dollars by going with A People’s Choice. You can’t go wrong, no matter what your needs are. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay out a percentage to any attorney. I want to thank all of A People’s Choice for the great help they give to everyone in their times of need. Like I was ! Thank You.”
R. Leonard
“I just recently moved to the Ventura area and didn’t know of any companies to help me with my legal paperwork. I am glad I chose A People’s Choice. They were very friendly and helped me with my documents in a very efficient way in very little time. Give them a try and you will be writing a positive review just as I did.”
D. Buelna
“We were very pleased with the professionalism, kindness and thoroughness of the staff at A People’s Choice. We used A People’s Choice for an Adult Adoption. The process was efficient and painless. We adopted our daughter last Friday and A People’s Choice was a huge part of making this happen. We will use A People’s Choice again when we have the need for professional legal document preparation.”
Diane M.
“A People’s Choice – Saved me time, money & hardship. The people are professional and a pleasure to work with, I totally recommend them to everyone! I will used them for all my legal documents in the future. Thank you!”
C. Lazalde
“I recently required the help of A People’s Choice, Inc. and found them to be entirely professional. Everything was done in short order yet all was explained to my satisfaction. They were friendly and courteous. I am happy and impressed.”
C. Zyobel
“Staff there were friendly, courteous and very professional. They did my Living Trust and the price was very reasonable. I am very pleased with their work and would highly recommend them.”
Anne M.
I love this business. I was looking for help filing adoption paperwork. I looked into law offices and they wanted to charge an arm and leg for my situation. My situation wasn’t even a complicated one. Thank God for a business like A People’s Choice. They made it clear they only offered documentation preparation and not legal advice. But that was all our family needed. They helped us accomplish a family dream. The joy on our child’s face was priceless.
Liset O.
When my father passed away without a will, we needed help handling the transfer of his assets. Since there weren’t significant assets, I didn’t want to spend too much on the legal paperwork. A People’s Choice offered just the right service we needed. In particular, the staff was very responsive to our document filing needs, helping to turn around corrections almost immediately. They helped to ease a tough situation.
Michael C.
We were very pleased with the professionalism, kindness and thoroughness of the A People’s Choice staff. We used A Peoples Choice for an Adult Adoption. The process was efficient and painless. We adopted our daughter last Friday and A People’s Choice was a huge part of making this happen. We will use A People’s Choice again when we have the need for professional legal document preparation.
S. Morton
We needed to add a few changes to our estate plan. Found “A People’s Choice” on the internet. People were very efficient and helpful. The cost was way less than an attorney would have charged. Thank you.
Gene N.
Extremely satisfied with the performance of A People’s Choice. The communication was excellent and all was handled in a timely efficient manner.
Pam T.
“I needed to create a living trust, will and end of life statement. After checking with multiple attorneys I was shocked at the pricing. I needed to find an alternative approach versus paying thousands in attorney fees. I checked out several options for of a more do it yourself approach…and found A People’s Choice. They have been in the business for years and their experience/expertise is a great asset. Second, it is very helpful to have a real person you can work with versus a call center environment. Finally their prices are fair. Overall I rate A People’s Choice as excellent…quality, speed, personal service are qualities delivered!
Bruce R.
Made the process so easy for me. Also VERY prompt replies through email. So glad I used their services.
Kristina C.
My wife and I needed to have some papers filed in court but found that traditional lawyers were quite expensive. We found the phone number for “A People’s Choice” and gave them a call, and am so happy that we did. They did a very professional job completing our paperwork and I might say, at a very reasonable price. And you can bet; I will contact A People’s Choice again if or when the need arises.
D. Hileman
The service provided by A People’s Choice was very professional and comprehensive. We have used A People’s Choice on a previous occasion and were completely satisfied. We would highly recommend A People’s Choice to anyone!
R. Betancourt
A consideration I have with the recent Government state employee cutbacks was my paperwork getting kicked back, due to some formality I missed! I hired A People’s Choice for an Uncontested Adult Adoption! I was very impressed with their return phone call policy. Further, I’m a stickler for this and attention-to-detail! The documentation was prepared with a few type-o’s, which were immediately corrected and returned for processing. Overall – I give A People’s Choice and Staff a 5 star rating for service & professionalism.
J. Aponte
“A People’s Choice is extremely customer orientated and friendly.  Their service was fast and reliable. in the future, should I need their services again, I will not hesitate to call them. All e-mails were answered with either a phone call or e-mail sometimes even late at night
Tar
“Super prices, great service, I can’t say enough about this place. We had A People’s Choice help us with a trust and POA. They are the best!”
Jessica S.
“A People’s Choice helped me to complete Child Custody modification paperwork. After looking online and trying to figure out how to do it myself, I decided to search yelp for help. No disappointment here. The service was easy and painless. It might have been nice to have a discussion by phone, but it was still quite easy and quick via email. Overall, the process was simple and I would use A People’s Choice again. I am pleased.”
Michael J.
“How much is peace of mind worth to you? This company of hardworking, caring individuals will help you get the job done in the quickest, most efficient way. Conveniently located. Check it out. Thank you!”
Diana K.
“Excellent service, fair prices, professional and prompt attention. Made our adoption process easy and affordable. Attorneys wanted three times as much for their bloated assistance. Thumbs way up.”
Michelle M.
“I waited to review this company until every step was completed. I am happy to say everything went according to plan! I used A People’s Choice for an adoption, which was well worth the money! I have also used an attorney for an adoption which cost 3x the amount for the same results. It was a much better experience dealing with A People’s Choice. They responded to emails and questions right away. I noticed there were a few typos on 2 documents they sent over and when I brought it to their attention, they were fixed in a matter of minutes. I’m so glad my husband found this company and saved me many headaches. If you’re on the fence about choosing them for your legal needs, please do, you won’t be disappointed! Everything was a breeze and they were very thorough. Thank you A People’s Choice!!!!”
Erica P.
“I used A People’s Choice for help with a probate matter. My grandfather died Christmas of 2016. He had a living trust but no one was able to find it. We went to A People’s Choice and we were able to do a probate affidavit to get what was left of my grandfather’s estate. Took two days for the documents to be prepared and the bank accepted them without any questions. Sandy was the one who assisted us and we really appreciate the help that was provided. A+ service.”
David R.
“We love A People’s Choice. It’s legally run and professional. Everyone has to have a recommendation and license. Highly recommended.”
Christy C.
“Divorce is usually never pleasant but A People’s Choice made it much easier than it would have been if we tried to do the divorce paperwork on our own. They were very quick to respond to us and always took the time to answer all of our questions thoroughly, in addition to quickly. I would highly recommend them for handling divorce paperwork.”
Susan Z.
“It was so nice to have their help with the adoption paperwork. I could have never done it myself. They responded quickly to my inquiry as well as every e-mail. Thank you to the staff for all of your help and patience!!!”
Sarah G.
“A People’s Choice helped me obtain my LLC. Sandy and her team offer great services, quick, efficient and very helpful! Courteous and explain all the details for those of us who don’t do this every day. Thank you for your help!”
CD M.
“This company is excellent! They helped me get through all of my paperwork, submitted it to the court, and now everything is complete. Everything was clear and almost too easy. I saved thousands of dollars!”
Seth M.
“Very professional, excellent follow up and easy to work with. I will recommend them often! The staff rocks!”
Gene A.
“I had the opportunity to use A People’s Choice again, Wow doesn’t say enough for the way the staff was able to get me in and out and all my answers answered. Very Professional, Organized and Friendly. I highly recommend!”
Debbie E.
I have worked with A People’s Choice since September 2013.  They are very knowledgeable and experienced.  Their work is done professionally and timely.  They show a real concern for my situation.  I recommend you give them the opportunity to be of service to you.”
D. Echeverra
“A People’s Choice made my incorporation process quick and painless, and kept it affordable but with more support than LegalZoom.”
Anne F.
“A People’s Choice is awesome! They made the legal documentation process painless. I highly recommend A People’s Choice. The name says it all.”
Eric J.
“I was very happy with the service received. They were extremely responsive by phone and email and completed the document in less than 24 hours! All questions were answered promptly. I would highly recommend this service to anyone needing a legal document prepared!”
M.D.
“A People’s Choice is a great option to get legal documents prepared inexpensively. They offer a very professional, low cost service for all sorts of legal paperwork, from living trusts to divorce, bankruptcy and everything in between. I always received a prompt reply to my inquiries and found the legal guide they gave me extremely helpful and informative. If you know what you want to do, don’t need legal advice and just need help preparing legal paperwork, I strongly recommend calling this company. You won’t be disappointed and will save lots of money as compared to using an expensive attorney!”
Kathryn R.
“A People’s Choice prepares legal documents so you can represent yourself and still look like you know what you’re doing. I utilized their services recently and found them to be professional as well as extremely helpful. I couldn’t be happier.”
Evan J.
“Outstanding service in facilitating my adult step daughter’s adoption! Everything happened just as they said. We got our hearing date exactly 45 days after submission. the hearing date was about 2 weeks from that. What a happy day at Edelman child Court in Monterey Park CA. So easy and worth the money which was not much! Thank you again “A People’s Choice!”
Colton S.
“A People’s Choice helped me with my QDRO. They were very professional and very honest. They saved me a lot of money by having them do all the paperwork. There was no hidden fees. I would recommend A People’s Choice for any of your needs. They are very knowledgeable in what they do. Thank you A People’s Choice for all your help!”
Debra H.
“I used A People’s Choice for filing divorce paperwork for an uncontested divorce. The price was very affordable and fair. Excellent service throughout. Not being able to call and talk on the phone worried me at first but they responded to every email extremely quickly. There directions were very easy to understand and they had no problem explaining something multiple times if I had questions or did not fully understand the directions. Will definitely use them again for any other legal documents I might need help with in the future.”
Frank M.
“I used A People’s Choice for a probate transaction and later for the preparation of a deed. All went smoothly. They were professional, efficient, easy to work with and reasonably-priced. Highly recommended.”
David S.
“Great way to get your divorce processed without attorneys for approx. $495. There were a few small hiccups with the documents, but nothing major, which I caught when I reviewed. I am happy with their service, efficient and organized, and would recommend them for filing a divorce that is mutually settled and skip the attorneys. Note: They are not process servers, so find your own server, or if you can do it yourself and save the $$. Thanks for a job well done!”
Bud P.
“This team is efficient, professional, ethical and easy to work with. Any of my questions were responded to immediately. They did everything they could to help me. I highly recommend their services.”
Leigh A.
“Can not remember how I found A People’s Choice. I think it was through a web search. In any case I found the company and have been and am completely satisfied with the service provided. The person I worked with (Sandra) was very friendly whenever we spoke on the phone and always responded promptly to any emails. The answers were always clear. The entire process was smooth and painless. I would recommend A People’s Choice without hesitation.”
Les A.
“When I first saw all of the documents required to file I was overwhelmed at the thought of it all. I was already dealing with the stress of everything else, I did not want to deal with the courts, a mountain load of paperwork and trips to file as well. I looked around and A People’s Choice had some great reviews and a decent price. I am VERY happy that I went with A People’s Choice. They were very, very helpful, Sandy was very nice and patient with me, despite all of my questions. With her assistance she helped to make this difficult time much easier by making the tedious paperwork process very easy and it didn’t take too much time at all! I definitely recommend A People’s Choice.”
M.McCleod
“Great service. Highly professional and efficient creating legal documents. I am completely satisfied and highly recommend them to others. I am so glad I found you on the internet. People who are looking for professional legal services look no further, try A People’s Choice.”
Radtech N.
“I was overwhelmed with my divorce, custody and child support paperwork Sandy at A People’s Choice made everything so much easier and really put my mind at ease. I couldn’t be happier with their assistance and it really made all the process speed up for me. Thank you so much for all your help.”
Samantha R.
“A People’s Choice is a business that delivers what they promise. I was treated like a VIP by their staff and Sandy was the best. As for their services, they promptly delivered all of the official documents and fillings on my behalf and their price is more than reasonable. In short, this is a business that I will always recommend and continue to use. Thank you!”
Juan B.
“I was in need of some serious help and didn’t know what to do. I had contacted a lawyer and he wanted to charge me $1800.00. Then I found A People’s Choice. They were great. They got my paper work started and at a much lower cost, and steered me, with the help of lots of paper work, in the right direction. I am very grateful for the company’s services and would recommend them to any one that may need the services they offer. Thank you again.”
April R.
“I highly recommend A People’s Choice. The customer service and professionalism are exceptional. My documents were delivered to me quickly and accurately. I didn’t contact them until late on Thursday afternoon and had everything in hand to be at the County Government Center by 8:00am on Friday morning. Compared to using an attorney for complete paperwork, this service is only a fraction of the cost, more responsive, and better suited to quickly completing complicated court forms. “
Linda F.
“I needed help understanding and filling out legal documents but I didn’t have enough money to pay for an attorney. I searched the internet for a short period of time looking for assistance and when I found A People’s Choice, I was relieved to know that I would get the exact service that I needed at an affordable price. The staff was very professional and helpful with my legal documents. They worked around my schedule and responded to my emails on a timely manner. They took care of all of the paper work and filing and kept me posted. I would highly recommend A People’s Choice for your legal documents as you will get outstanding service at an affordable price. “
Sharon B.

Hire a Legal Document Assistant Today!

  • or call 1-800-747-2780

As a registered legal document assistant, A People’s Choice can prepare many types of common legal documents. In fact, the help of an experienced legal document assistant is often all that is needed for most simple legal processes. What does this mean? It means that A People’s Choice can help prepare family law forms (e.g. divorce filings, child custody agreements, adoption papers, paternity cases, probate, name change), probate filings, estate planning documents, wage garnishments, business formation documents, adoption forms, civil litigation filings, and many other legal documents.

Requirements for Legal Document Preparers / Legal Document Assistants

California requires that legal document preparers (known as legal document assistants) have specific qualifications to provide legal document services. For example, a legal document assistant must have a certain number of credits in a legal education program and/or have legal training working for a licensed attorney. Legal document assistants require continuing education and a bond to protect consumers. A legal document assistant must renew their registration and bond every two years.

There are many benefits of using a legal document assistant. However, just like in any profession, not all legal document preparers are the same nor do they offer the same service. When selecting a legal document assistant, you should review their qualifications, experience, and reputation. These three critical factors play an essential role when selecting a legal document assistant.  You should also compare pricing. Some clients discover companies that charge as much as an attorney would charge for the same service! A People’s Choice has over 38 years of experience and thousands upon thousands of happy clients. Our fees are reasonable and affordable, and we offer full case management services.

Benefits of Using a Legal Document Preparer vs Hiring a Lawyer

The most significant advantage of using a legal document preparer vs hiring a lawyer is the cost savings. For example, if you have a legal issue that is relatively straightforward, such as a name change or LLC filing, the legal process is reasonably simple. The complicated part is preparing the documents, which is what a legal document preparer would help with. With the papers prepared by a legal document assistant, it is becomes easy to get through the process without hiring a lawyer.

Most legal issues require the filing of a petition, form, or some other document, and following specific steps. Some documents and forms are confusing and difficult to understand. In this regard, you could spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to properly complete the forms. In addition, courts have rules for legal documents.  If your document does not conform to the rules, you may have to correct and refine it, which could incur additional court fees as well as delay your case.

In every legal case, consumers can choose to hire a lawyer to prepare legal documents and represent them. On the other hand, however, if all you need are name change forms, it is probably not worth paying an attorney three to four hundred dollars an hour for the simple tasks required to do that. A legal name change process is very procedural, requiring the completion of certain documents that do not need legal analysis. The hearing is straightforward and does not need an attorney to appear. Lastly, registered legal document preparers charge much less than attorneys.  Consequently, hiring a document preparer can save you time and give you peace of mind that the forms are complete and correct.

Are there Downsides of Using a Legal Document Preparer?

The main drawback for using a document preparer vs a lawyer is that the services a registered legal document preparer provides can only cover document preparation and case processing or management. In this regard, if your case is complex or has unusual issues, you probably need the help of an attorney. Specifically, a registered document preparer cannot give legal advice, or answer legal questions about your legal rights or remedies. In addition, a legal document preparer cannot recommend to you which forms you need, nor represent you in court. In fact, California law specifically details the role of a legal document assistant, including what they can and cannot do. Remember, these laws were written by lawyers who, when the law was created, did not want people to have options for low-cost legal document help.

Selecting Forms for Your Legal Process

It may surprise you to learn that a legal document assistant cannot help you select forms. Yes, the ability for a legal document preparer to select forms for clients is actually prohibited by California law. As a result, customers often ask how we can help them if they do not know what forms they need. A key point to remember is that this provision was incorporated into the California statute by lawyers who did not want people to have a low-cost option for legal help. Although at first glance this provision may seem to prohibit us helping people, there is a workaround supported by the California Association of Legal Document Assistants.

In California, a registered document preparer can give you legal materials that have been written or approved by a lawyer. These materials will tell you which forms you need the legal document assistant to prepare for your particular matter. Problem solved! These materials also serve another purpose. They provide consumers with important information on the legal process and steps necessary to complete specific legal processes. These materials make it easy for people to use the services of a legal document preparer within the restrictions of California law.

How does this work? For example, you want to file an uncontested divorce and hire a registered document preparer to help you. The legal document preparer will give you informational materials that will name the forms that an uncontested divorce requires.  The contract for services of the legal document preparer will list these documents as part of their document preparation services. The preparer can fill out all the documents you need, but cannot answer specific questions about divorce laws or particular strategies you might want to use.

The services of a legal document assistant usually cover routine, uncomplicated legal process. It is often just a matter of getting customers through the legal process, making sure we prepare documents with the information they provide and timely file them. As a result, legal advice questions do not typically come up. However, if they do, there are options for consumers to get quick, low-cost answers from an attorney. As another example, a registered legal document preparer can help with create a trust or a will, but cannot answer questions about tax implications of the contents of the estate planning documents.

With this in mind, if you have a complicated legal matter with multiple issues and will need legal advice or help determining legal strategy, you may need to hire a lawyer. Alternatively, as many of our clients have discovered, it is easy to get a lawyer to answer your legal questions ahead of time and then hire the legal document assistant to prepare the documents. This allows customers to get the legal advice they need from an attorney but still have the option to have a legal document assistant prepare their documents at a far lower cost than the attorney would charge.

Don’t overpay for your legal needs! Contact A People’s Choice at 800-747-2780 to learn how we can help you with prepare your legal documents.

Get help with your Legal documents today!

A People’s Choice can save you hundreds of dollars by preparing your legal documents instead of an expensive attorney!

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By |2019-01-01T17:39:40+00:00October 29th, 2018|Legal Document Assistants|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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