* You wonder if your contract and policies are legally enforceable
* You receive a letter from your child care licensor who wants to take away your license
* Your Food Program sponsor threatens to issue you a serious deficiency notice and kick you off the Food Program
* A parent has left your program owing you money
* A child is injured in your program and the parent threatens to sue you
When faced with these challenges you want to be able to consult with an attorney to defend your rights.
But, most lawyers are expensive and out of reach for many family child care providers.
Legal Shield is an alternative way to get legal advice at a more affordable rate.
The company offers a variety of legal services for a monthly fee from a network of attorney across the country.
You can purchase a personal/family plan or a small business plan. Under the personal/family plan an attorney can answer your questions on any legal issue, write letters on your behalf, prepare your will and review other legal documents, and provide limited legal defense if you are sued or arrested.
The small business plan offers:
* Review of your contract/policies and advice concerning employees
* Help collecting money owed by parents
* Advice if your licensor is trying to take away your license or your Food Program sponsor is trying to kick you off the Food Program
* Assistance if you are audited by the IRS or sued by a parent
* Additional legal assistance at a 25% discount off the lawyer’s normal rate
The fee is $39 a month. Visit the Legal Shield website for more information.
Legal Shield also offers an Identity Theft Plan.
Legal Shield used to be known as Pre-Paid Legal Services.
Reactions from providers
I’ve heard from providers who love this service and others who didn’t believe it was worth the cost.
Providers who use Legal Shield primarily appreciate the easy access to legal advice that helps them make better decisions. Providers also mentioned the peace of mind they have knowing they can easily call an attorney for advice. Others have described how using this service has helped them to prepare their will and protected them against debt collectors and speeding tickets. For specific comments from providers, see my Facebook page.
Providers who have not liked the service complained about the high monthly fee and the slow response time from their local lawyer.
For providers who need legal help, but can’t afford the high cost of retaining a lawyer, Legal Shield is a viable option.
I think Legal Shield will be most useful for providers who regularly take advantage of their services.
You are paying for legal services you anticipate needing over the coming year as well as access to low-cost legal advice for emergencies you can’t anticipate.
If you get help initially with a variety of issues and then don’t need assistance after a number of months, you can cancel the service.
Before purchasing this service I would recommend providers think carefully about the type of legal assistance they might need in the coming year. You will pay $468 a year whether you use the service or not. The monthly $39 fee is automatically charged to your credit card.
The cost of the Legal Shield small business service is 100% tax deductible.
What were your experiences using Legal Shield?
Image credit: flickr.com
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com