When is the last time you needed help from a lawyer? (And how much did it cost?!)
- Perhaps a legal document you needed for your state?
- Perhaps a question for an attorney about an eviction process?
- Do you have your Will prepared?
- How about setting up an LLC for your business?
- Do you even need an LLC? What about a Corporation?
These are all questions that come up on a day to day basis for business owners, and the simple fact is – lawyers are expensive! A simple phone call to a lawyer can cost hundreds of dollars, and trying to get attorney approved forms that are specifically applicable for your state can be a pain to go through.
Trust me – I’ve spent more than I’d care to admit on lawyer fees, questions, and forms. One of my favorite aspects about BiggerPockets are the Forums, which allow a person to go and ask a question about any real estate investing topic and receive answers from actual, real life real estate investors located in your area. I use the forums every day and, if you aren’t using them, you really are missing out on what I believe is the best source for real estate investing education, period (and it’s free!)
However – there are things that the forums can’t do. I see it often, when a question is asked that no investor can (or should) answer. As a fellow real estate investor and business owner, I can share my thoughts on what I have done but I can’t give legal advice because I don’t know the specifics of your state or your position in life. What my lawyer tells me to do might be completely different than what you should do. This is why having an attorney on your side is so important.
Enter Rocket Lawyer.
Rocket Lawyer was a new concept to me just several weeks ago – but after learning about their service and signing up for an account – I’m convinced that this is a game changer. RocketLawyer was kind enough to send me a free trial of the service to check it out – and so I took the opportunity to play with pretty much every aspect of the site. This post is going to briefly look at what Rocket Lawyer is, what it can do for you, what it can’t do for you, plus my own personal experience and Rocket Lawyer review. Let’s get started.
What is Rocket Lawyer?
Rocket Lawyer is an online legal service designed to make legal matters easier and more affordable. I’m sure you understand the problem : lawyers, with their “hundreds of dollars per hour” fees, busy schedules, and trigger-happy billing buttons make getting legal help a hurdle for most families or small business owners – especially those who need legal help more often like landlords and investors. Essentially – Rocket Lawyer is a sort-of “pre-paid” legal service on a low monthly subscription plan. So, for between $10 and $20 bucks a month (billed annually – or it’s double that price if billed monthly,) you can get a ton of different legal services done for you.
Specifically, Rocket Lawyer specializes in three major areas of the legal field that you may need to use: creating legal documents, connecting with a lawyer to answer questions, and incorporating businesses. Let’s look at each of these three areas specifically, and how you can use Rocket Lawyer in your business.
1.) Legal Documents
As a landlord, I’m always in need of documents. And even if I weren’t in real estate – I’d still need them and chances are, you are probably in the same situation. So the ability to go online and print off state specific legal forms for your business or your personal life is a life-saver for me. Here are just a few of the different documents you can make:
- Eviction Notices
- 3-Day Pay or Quit Notices
- Power of Attorney
- Domestic Partnership Agreement
- Travel Consent Form
- Nanny Agreement
- Marriage Separation Agreement
- Response to IRS Notice
- Government Letters
- Simple Lease Agreement
- Security Deposit Refund Letter
- Renter’s Inspection Worksheet
- Move-In Letter
- Rent Receipt
- Bill of Sale
- Secured Promissory Note
- Real Estate Deeds
- and many, many more.
Top Real Estate Forms on RocketLawyer:
Lease with Option to Purchase
Late Rent Notice
Real Estate Purchase Agreement
Lease Renewal Agreement
Click here to visit the Rocket Lawyer Real Estate Center
As you can see – there are a ton of different forms you can make, and this list barely scratches the surface. You can actually go to Rocket Lawyer and see every form before signing up, which is nice. Just today, I set up a Durable Power of Attorney using Rocket Lawyer and it couldn’t have been any easier. I simply entered in all the information they asked me for and within minutes I was up and running with a Durable Power of Attorney. The screenshot below will give you an idea of what their question format looks like and how easy it was to use:
Notice a few things in the photo above:
- The Progress Bar across the top, showing me how much further I have to go before I’m finished
- The easy “Yes/No” questions – (I can’t really screw those up!)
- The “Help” section on the right, that explains in much greater detail (and in laymen’s terms) what that specific page is asking about.
- The “Back,” “Continue,” and “Save For Later” navigation buttons – which are simple to use.
I want to be able to say there was something difficult or to have some kind of criticism here, because all reviews need to be balanced. But honestly this thing worked like a charm. I printed the document out, and now I just need to take it to my local bank to be notarized. Not too bad! There is also an option to have an attorney review your document – for free, which I’ll get to in a minute.
On a side note for landlords – the lease agreement that is provided in the documents is also excellent and created specifically for your state. What especially stood out to me was the final page of the lease agreement, which actually gives you – the landlord – a checklist of things to make sure you do when renting your property out. Excellent tips, so you can’t really screw it up! If you want more info on getting your property rented, be sure to take a look at one of these three following articles I’ve written on here at BiggerPockets:
- How to Rent Your House: The Definitive Step by Step Guide
- How to Be a Landlord: Top Ten Tips for Success
- Tenant Screening: The Ultimate Guide
Let’s move on.
2.) Connecting with a Lawyer
Like I mentioned earlier, trying to get advice or answers from a lawyer can be extremely difficult and expensive. It seems every month I have a situation where I need to know the answer to a quick legal question, but don’t want to call a lawyer just for a five-minute phone call. So, when I learned that this was a feature of Rocket Lawyer service – I was excited. With a subscription to Rocket Lawyer – you are allowed to contact an on-call lawyer in your area for either a quick question online OR actually set up a phone conversation with a local attorney to answer your questions or discuss your problem.
So - that quick, 5 minute question that you really need to ask a lawyer no longer needs to wait. You have no excuse but to get your legal matter figured out and move forward. There are actually several different ways you can use Rocket Lawyer to connect with a lawyer, and over the past week, I’ve used all three:
- Quick Online Question
- Phone Consultation
- Document Review
The Quick Online Question
Let’s just say you have a quick question to ask a Lawyer. Perhaps this is a simple “yes” or “no” question or “is this legal in my state” kind of question. You can easily post your question on Rocket Lawyer for a local attorney to give a quick answer to. For example, I asked the question
If a tenant pays half their rent, can I still file for eviction on the remaining balance?
I submitted the question and 24 hours later I had my answer. Yes, unless I had some arrangement with the tenant, I could issue a 3-day notice to the tenant for whatever portion of rent was not paid. Just as I thought – but it’s great getting confirmation from a legal pro!
The Rocket Lawyer Phone Consultation
After a recent Podcast recording with Clay Huber on the BiggerPockets Podcast, I was intrigued by a strategy that Clay uses to buy and sell real estate. While you definitely should spend an hour and listen to the episode, essentially what Clay does is he uses private lenders to fund a house purchase and then sells the property, at a cost much higher than he paid, and carries the contract. In Michigan, this is done using a “Land Contract” but here in Washington State, we don’t have land contracts. So is there a way for me to make this happen in my State and use the same strategy?
So I went online to Rocket Lawyer and submitted my request to contact an attorney. With the “Pro Legal Plan” that I have, I can speak to a lawyer for up to a 1/2 hour for each separate legal matter and it’s included in the cost of my membership! The next morning, I received a call from Rocket Lawyer telling me how the process would work. Essentially:
- They would try to connect me right then and there with the lawyer
- If he wasn’t available, they would leave him a voicemail to directly contact me.
- After the 1/2 hour consultation, if I chose to continue, I would be billed but at a discounted rate (more on that in a minute.)
And really, it was that easy. The lawyer they found that specialized in real estate law was not immediately available, but he called me back later that day and we had a great chat about my issue. He explained several different ways I could do the same strategy as Clay – and how legally it was a pretty basic thing. Awesome!
I hung up from the lawyer and immediately called my real estate agent and put an offer on the property I was considering and I should be closing next week. Talking with the lawyer from Rocket Lawyer gave me the confidence to pursue this deal that wasn’t a great fit for a house flip or a buy and hold – but would work great for a seller financing strategy like Clay suggested.
Rocket Lawyer Document Review
The third way you can use Rocket Lawyer to connect with a lawyer is with a document review. How many times have you heard or read the disclaimer online that you should “have this document reviewed by a local attorney.” Well – no one wants to pay hundreds of dollars for a document to be reviewed so we usually do one of two things:
- Ignore the disclaimer and use the form anyways
- Stop in your tracks and don’t move forward
Let’s face it – neither are good options. With Rocket Lawyer, and my “Pro Legal Plan” I had a lawyer review my Durable Power of Attorney document that I mentioned earlier.
To do so, I simply navigated to the “document review” section on the site and submitted my request to RocketLawyer. Within a couple hours, a Rocket Lawyer rep contacted me and let me know that an attorney would be in touch. Later during the day, I received an email from an attorney. I sent him over the form and he got it back to me, with his approval. He had a one small suggestion (just about the language having to do with the Notary, which he said was fine the way it was written but personally he would write it just a little different) and then also gave me advice on how to get it notarized.
Pre-Negotiated Rates from Rocket Lawyer
Another nice feature that Rocket Lawyer has is pre-negotiated discount rates with the lawyer should your legal matter be more complicated than the 1/2 hour phone call, you can actually hire the lawyer at 40% their normal rates. The following info was pulled directly from Rocket Lawyer website and is written a lot better than I could say it so I’ll just copy and paste it:
Your initial consultation and document reviews are all included in your Legal Plan at no extra cost. Legal matters are often fairly complex and require additional research, review, appearances or writing. If you and your On Call lawyer agree that additional work is needed in order to complete your document or handle a complex legal issue, you will get a pre-negotiated hourly rate — 40% off* of the On Call lawyer’s standard fees.
Your On Call lawyer will have you complete an attorney engagement letter that outlines the work you will receive and clearly states any additional costs that may be involved. If you have any questions about this process, never hesitate to ask your lawyer or your personal representative.
So, I haven’t actually paid a lawyer yet that I’ve met on Rocket Lawyer, so I can’t speak to the service I’d get at that point. However, the system that Rocket Lawyer set up really was nice and efficient – and inexpensive.
Let’s move on to one of the best features of Rocket Lawyer…
3.) Business Incorporation
The third, and potentially most important aspect of Rocket Lawyer, is the ability to easily navigate the complicated waters of incorporating your business.
I currently have 5 different companies that I operate, some that I set up myself just following the information on the State’s website, and several that I hired my lawyer to create for me. The ones I set up myself – I actually had to pay my lawyer to fix and finalize. The fact is – it’s not too hard to create a company by yourself, but it does take time and there are certain things you may do wrong which could affect your legal standing later down the road.
Check out the photo below to see what the process looks like. It’s really very similar to the process of creating a legal document, which I talked about above.
Rocket Lawyer will help you set up your company and it’s included in the cost of your plan. Obviously, you still need to pay for the official state filing fees, which differ quite a bit depending on what state you are located in, but still – it’s pretty awesome. For me, it would be under $200 to have an LLC created and I could have it finished today.
I don’t have a need for another company right now, so I didn’t actually order one through Rocket Lawyer. However, I did walk through the entire process and created a “fake” company all the way through the process just to see what it was like.
It seriously took me less than 10 minutes.
So I can promise you that next time I need an LLC set up or a Corporation, I will be using Rocket Lawyer.
As an added benefit, you can actually hire Rocket Lawyer to be your “*Registered Agent” for $129 per year – which means they will actually renew your company every year and handle all the paperwork that needs to be done. I pay my own lawyer $150 per year for this same service, and I was getting a good deal from him. Rocket Lawyer is definitely cheaper than my own attorney, so I’ll have to test out this as well in the future.
I’d definitely recommend letting someone else be your Registered Agent. You don’t want to risk forgetting to file a certain document a year from now, and have your company dissolve without your knowledge. With my very first LLC, this is exactly what happened. I didn’t renew in time and I lost it.
There are a lot of other benefits for having a registered agent, so definitely do some research into it. Or you can just trust me and hire a registered agent, please!
What If I Don’t Want a Rocket Lawyer Subscription Plan? If you don’t want the subscription plan with Rocket Lawyer, you can pay a processing fee to incorporate your business as well. For me, it said it would be $99 BUT they offer it free if you do a 7-day free trial of their plan, so that’s not a bad gig either.
What to Watch Out For
As with any service, there are things to watch out for and Rocket Lawyer is no different. While I had no problems with the way the site is run, there was one thing you should keep in mind:
They may try to up-sell you to other services/products you might not need (or maybe you do need… it’s just hard to know…)
I only noticed this in one place on their entire site, and that’s when I was setting up my “fake” company. They suggested that I order a $100 “Corporate Seal and Kit” which includes “stock certificates, company binder, personalized corporate seal, and sample business forms. The binder is enclosed in a matching slip-case and is custom embossed with your corporate name in gold on the spine.”
While that actually seems like a decent deal, I’m not sure you’d really need it for an LLC, which they were recommending it for. The same applies for the “Federal Tax ID Number” which they offered to do for me for $60. However, the Tax ID number is the easiest thing in the world to get, and you can get it in 5 minutes from the IRS website here. Sure, if you want someone else to take care of it for you, they will for $60 but it’s really unnecessary and I don’t think they did a great job of explaining how easy it really is to do for yourself.
How to Get $100 Off Rocket Lawyer
Alright, so you can tell I’m a pretty big fan of Rocket Lawyer. Over the past week or so of playing with my account and getting these legal matters worked on, I’ve consistently been impressed with the site and what it has to offer (I must – I just wrote over 3000 words on it!)
At BiggerPockets, it’s not that common that we recommend a service because we don’t want to recommend things that we don’t honestly believe in wholeheartedly. However, I can honestly say that if you are the kind of person who need a legal question answered occasionally, or you are about ready to start your own business – try out Rocket Lawyer. Not only will it save you money – but the simplicity of the site and the service will save you stress.
As a disclaimer, BiggerPockets does receive compensation if you end up purchasing through our link to Rocket Lawyer. However, it doesn’t cost anything extra. In fact, we’ve actually negotiated a discount for BiggerPockets readers and can get you up to $100 off a Pro Legal Plan at RocketLawyer if you go through the links on this page. If you choose not to – that’s okay too, we still recommend it 100% (But you won’t get the discount, so help a brother out!)
BiggerPockets members get a 7 day free trial to the Rocket Lawyer Professional Legal Plan. Click here to sign up through this exclusive coupon code!
Hopefully this Rocket Lawyer Review has helped you out! If so, I’d love it if you shared this post on your Facebook wall. Rocket Lawyer isn’t just for business owners or real estate investors. It’s for anyone who has children, anyone who has parents, anyone who needs any kind of legal service. So help us out and help them out by sharing!
Thanks for reading this Rocket Lawyer review! And don’t forget to leave your questions or comments below!Rocket Lawyer Review : How to Save Big Money On Legal Fees by Brandon Turner