LEGAL SELF HELP
The resources available today for legal self help (pro se legal help) are inexpensive, easy to use, and more plentiful than most people know.
PRO SE RESOURCES COME IN MANY FORMS
Here are 12 ways to legally help yourself without spending a lot of time or money.
Use 21st century technology to your advantage! Yes, it's the new way, and it's so much
less expensive. To speak to a lawyer or execute a legal document used to take significant time and money. Now, you can take care of business without leaving home
and for a fraction of the cost.
Take a look at a dozen legal self help options available to you.
Do You Have a Legal Self Help Tip of Your Own?
12 Great Legal Self Help Resources
Using modern technology will save you more than it costs! What's that they say about an "Ounce of Prevention?"
It used to be that we had little to choose from when it came to finding out what was going on that shouldn't be. We had the
phone book or the neighborhood attorney. Everybody knew what your business was and it spread like wild fire.
Today, you can not only solve many of your own legal problems, but you can also work proactively or preventatively to
avoid future legal implications. Here are several ways you can help yourself.
#1 - Free or Cheap Online DIY Do It Yourself Legal Forms:
Most people have no idea how easy and inexpensive it is to create a legal document with a computer. Personalize it, print it, and use it over and over.
Do you need a free quit claim deed? How about free, customizable employee handbook templates to prevent future complaints or repercussions?
A prenuptial agreement? A power of attorney or a last
will or living will?
For example, a creating a simple loan agreement even among "friends", shows that you take this
seriously. Creating a document for a loan from parents to children demonstrates the "correct way to do things" and sets a good example of expectations
when you fill out a simple form when they borrow money.
You can find some free legal forms online. We have an expanding list of free printable legal forms here on this site. The degree of technicality and specificity
that you require depends on the issue and its' seriousness. The problem often is that laws vary state to state.
For serious issues, buy specific legal software! It's downright cheap and it's reusuable.
For instance, for less than $10, you can buy software to create
A Last Will Specific to YOUR State and Your Family Situation.
The software can be downloaded immediately, it has step-by-step directions,
and you can use it over and over, share it, or whatever you want.
How could we have ever created something like a state specific will, for multiple
persons, from our own home, for less than $10 a few years ago? See legal forms available for Your State
Legal Letter Templates are extremely effective for addressing many issues and are also available online for literally a couple dollars.
They can be used over and over and often have a "magical effect" in solving a matter, as they convey a seriousness that isn't generally ignored..
Here are Sample Legal Letters to give you an idea.
When it comes to legal documents or legal letters of any kind, computers have revolutionized the legal industry.
Lawyers aren't too excited about this, as it really cuts into their business and removes much of the "implied mystery" surrounding
the creation of legal documents. Try this once and you'll quickly become "self-sufficient" creating legal forms.
If you've got a really complex issue, the companies that sell legal form software also have attorneys on
staff that for a small additional fee will advise you and help create your document. But, more often than not, you can easily do it yourself.
#2 - Free or Cheap Legal Consultations:
Many attorneys offer "Free Consultations" - in theory. You'll see this advertised in their ads. Some areas of law just
lend themselves more to a free consultation than others.
However, getting your "free consultation" is sometimes difficult.
Some attorneys require you to come in to their office, which can not only be inconvenient, but also makes you feel more of an
"obligation" to hire the attorney after the consultation.
You may feel that you've already invested time in explaining your
situation to this attorney and don't wish to repeat the process. Therefore, going into the office to "collect" your free consultation
often removes a little bit of your negotiating ability regarding the attorney fees.
If you opt to get a free "phone consultation" with an
attorney, it usually requires some patience. You may get to speak with a legal assistant or an intern and get a fair idea of
what you're in for. But to speak with an attorney for free usually involves leaving messages and waiting.
Some are better than
others in providing a short, free consultation. But, in their defense, they're busy with paying clients, and paying clients come first. Be patient and persistant, and
try to get a short, free, phone consultation. It can at least help you decide upon a course of action.
Which brings to light another great 21st century option: Just Ask A Lawyer
Ask a question and get an answer ASAP.They actually have experts in every profession imaginable, whether you need a vet for your pet, an electrician,
or a lawyer; this is the new way to get quick and inexpensive answers from people who know.
1. Describe your question or situation on your
2. A lawyer in your state specializing in your legal problem answers your question.
3. Only if you are satisified
with the response you received, you pay the lawyer online - usually about $20. No going to the office. No phone tag. This
is one heck of a deal and is a great jump-starter to solving whatever your legal problem is. Use this service once and you will
use it again.
Have You Heard of the Newer Concept in which Companies Bid for Your Business? This practice started out in the travel industry
where people would post where they wanted to fly or cruise and companies would come back with whatever their best deal was.
Well, this practice has become popular simply because it saves the consumer money. It puts the power in your court to choose who
you want to provide your service at what price.
This concept adapts very well for persons needing a lawyer to represent them.
If you simply have a question, the "Just Ask, Just Answer Lawyer" service described above works well. But if you're looking for a lawyer to
handle a case for you, why not let several attorneys bid on your case to find which lawyer best suits your needs and your pocketbook?
This process is extremely easy and getting very popular in the legal field - because it give YOU (the consumer) the power to choose (unlike
the "free in-office consultation" scenerio).
Simply, here's how Legal Match works:
1. You describe your case.
2. This info is sent to attorneys in your geographic area
that specialize in your situation (you remain anonymous).
3. The attorneys that are interested in taking your case send back
their proposal and price.
4. You decide to accept or reject offers. What a way to get your best deal and from someone who really
wants to represent you. Win, win.
#3 - Perform a Cheap Records Search
Here's some investigative legal self help you can quickly, easily, and inexpensively do from your own computer to find out about anything. 20
years ago, you would have to hire an expensive private investigator to do this. It's so simple, it's almost scary, it's completely legal, and it's cheap.
Here's how easy it is
to find things out about people and for people to find things out about you:
#4 - Do Your Own Private Investigation - It's Cheaper Than You Think
OK. What are you investigating? Most of the technology on this page can help you find out about anything you could possibly
want to know!
Effortlessly monitor someone's computer or text messages? Check court or criminal records?
Most of what private investigators do is watch. If you have the time, and patience, you can learn a lot about someone just by
watching. Digital cameras are small and quiet - they even take movies. That used to be a big, noisy production. Put a camera outside your house.
But it comes back to the best way to watch most people is through their computer. And fewer and fewer people are computer illiterate these days.
Yes, you should have someone's "permission" to spy on their computer and yes, you need a couple minutes to get the software on it. But I'm guessing that
they've taken something of yours if you're feeling the need to investigate them.
Whatever the case, investigating can be tricky, boring, and worst of all; dangerous. People don't like it when they've been
caught at something. I remember trying to carefully get the glass lid off the candy dish as a kid and I hated it when I got nabbed!
There's a lot of legal self help devices out there. Do as much as you feel you're competent to do. Hire out the rest - or just walk away.
#5 - DON'T Get a DUI or Speeding Ticket (or Red Light Camera Ticket)
Know where the speed traps and sobriety check points are before you get there. If you're proactive with this, you simply won't
get a ticket. Remember the "old CB radios"? Where everyone gave everyone else the "heads up" on where "smokey" was hiding
or running check points?
Again, welcome to the 21st century. This is not only software. It has real people behind it.
You download the software to your cell phone. And to top it off, it's free.
Your phone will then alert you as to locations of police and check points. And when you drive by and see them,
you can confirm the location or report new ones. This is the epitomy of legal self help! Everyone is monitoring and helping everyone else, but doing it via GPS and
electronics. We're all hooked on our cell phones, and I was hooked on my GPS before this came along. Now, you couldn't get it away from me for anything.
Police use the latest technology so why can't we? Here's our page telling you about free speed trap location software. On that page, we'll also provide a link
to a huge free list of speed trap locations all over the United States and Canada. Check out these free resources and pass
a link to our page onto your friends and family.
Additionally, if you have an problem with camera-issued tickets or red light cameras as they're sometimes called, take a look at this.
#6 - Secure Known Marital Assets and Consider Hidden Marital Assets.
Divorce brings out the worst in people. And grappling for assets is not uncommon.
Divorce usually only takes 1 of the 2 people by surprise.
The other one saw it coming. That person has an advantage because they had a chance to "secure their assets" before the stuff
hit the fan.
Legal self help is keeping your eyes open and your "ducks in a row". Don't be the "last to know". It puts you in a tough spot
And what about hidden marital assets? This is more common that you think, and it's just as common with "everyday people" as it is with
How does it happen? I could really tell you some stories. Sometimes, hiding marital assets evolves over
many years and just becomes too big to disclose.
For others, hiding marital assets is a purposeful way to "set something aside" or
prepare just in case the marriage falls apart. Either way, one party to the marriage loses out on assets that are likely half
If you have suspicions that your marriage is "headed south", make copies of every financial record you can get your hands on. Write down
account numbers. Copy documents. Take digital pictures of expensive items in the home that "may disappear" in a marital battle. And do it all
before the "big confrontation". Because after that, everyone is "on guard". Get all your information together before that happens.
Even if you think your marriage will last forever, the odds are that you're wrong! So, keep records and pay attention.
Everything happens on the internet now. So if you want to know if some of your assets have wandered away, or if you're
wondering if anything or anyone else has strayed, put a simple piece of invisible software on the culprit's computer and
watch every move they make. In a marriage break-up, it's the best legal self help you can find. Know what's going on in
that computer. It will tell all! Read this true story about hidden marital assets.
#7 - Protect Your Kids. Monitor phone text messages, emails, internet use.
Kids need their privacy! NOT! Kids today have access to technology that can get them into more trouble than
we ever even dreamed of 20 or 30 years ago.
And, kids are generally not "legally responsible" until they're 18 years old.
So why then do some people have a big deal about kids and their privacy? Private phone calls, private internet usage, and private
texting is a license to kill - or be killed, plain and simple. It happens every day.
Kids do not have the experience and/or judgement in grade school or young teens to identify danger. They feel young, immortal, and invincable,
but unfornately they're not.
When we were kids and got a phone call, there were "20 questions" afterwards. I still remember one
night around 11 pm or so I got a phone call. I was in junior high school. My parents wondered what kind of person calls a kid on
a school night at 11 pm, and they asked the caller point blank. I never got that call. And yes, it was one of the "rough" kids in town that I didn't need
to be talking to at all..
But I had a buffer between me and indiscriminate communication with the outside world. It was called "parents". They heard the phone
when it rang. They heard most of the conversations because the phone cord was only about 4 ft. long. There was no internet
to set up meetings with someone somewhere with something to share!
I just cringe when I see some of these indignant looks kids give their parents when asked about their "communications". I monitor what's being said on the
internet, cell phones, and texting. It's not being a control freak. Again, it's called being a parent. I want kids that live long enough to make their own decisions.
We can see everything that goes across all our computer screens, IMs, chat, and email. And we can monitor it from anywhere. We can enter "danger" words for the system
to pick out and alert us to. One "danger word" we use that some parents wouldn't think of is "don't" don't tell, don't call, ..... It's one of the 21st
century safety nets available for the communication technology kids have come to expect. When you were a kid, would you have been able to
instantly communicate with some weirdo 2 hours away? Of course not.
Now, there's also software to monitor cell phones and texting as easily as we monitor computer usage. Click on a link and
you see everything that happens on that phone. Yes, that can be scary in the wrong hands, but it can help you protect your kids.
Monitor all cell phone text messages totally undetected with WebWatcher Mobile
There's no reason for you not to know what's going on with your kids!
#8 - Wireless Security Cameras - Reduce Burgulary Potential, Monitor baby sitters, watch pets, watch neighborhood activity.
Seeing is believing. And, people act differently if they know they're being watched. What's going on in and around your
Security cameras have come a long, long way. Most are completely wireless now and digital for clarity. We have one outside our home
and for fun we also put one inside our house to watch to see what our dog does when we're gone. She does a good job of entertaining
herself with her toys, but mostly just sleeps.
The prices have gotten much more reasonable on these but if you still can't
afford one, get an old or broken one for nothing and install it outside. Most people up to no good won't question whether
it's "real" or not. I love being in my office and seeing what's going on in front of the house.
#9 - Protect Your Identity - One of the Top Crimes In America Is Identity Theft
No one really gets interested in this until it happens to them.
But here's an area you really need to be proactive in. If you wait until you have a problem, then you've really got a problem on your hands!
Identity theft protection is not well-understood by most people, but it should be. Why? Because someone stealing your identity
is becoming one of the most prevelant crimes in America.
And the better your credit, the more desirable your
LifeLock is one of the premier company's that use the industry's most advanced tools to help stop
identity theft before it happens, even if your information falls into the wrong hands. There are several companies that
offer identity theft. But Lifelock has become the "Gold Standard", and for about $100 a year, you get a lot of proactive
protection for your money.
HERE'S WHAT YOU GET WITH LIFELOCK
1. LifeLock Identity Alert System - Notifies you when LifeLock detects your personal information being used to apply
for many forms of credit and services.
2. eRecon service - Patrols the web for the illegal selling or trading of your personal information.
3. TrueAddress service - Notifies you when a change of address is requested on your behalf.
4. WalletLock service - Helps cancel or replace the contents of a lost or stolen wallet.
5. Request Free Annual Credit Reports - LifeLock requests your free annual credit reports so you can check for
6. Reduce Pre-Approved Credit Offers - Thieves still make a living by stealing your mail, but they can't steal what
7. 24-Hour Customer Service - Need help? LifeLock is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
8. 1 Million Total Service Guarantee - As a LifeLock member, if you become a victim of identity theft because of a
failure in LifeLock's service, LifeLock will help you fix it at their expense, up to $1,000,000. Get the proven solution to help
protect your good name - LifeLock
#10 - Check YOUR Credit Score - Especially If It's GOOD!
People need to monitor their credit scores. It's a barometer for your financial health. Check it - It's Free for heaven's sake!
Even if it's low and you really don't want to know. Look! You need to know. And it's not true that checking your credit score
regularly lowers it.
And if you've got some real problems with your credit, there are things that can be done that you may not know about. Lawyers can
often "fix" things or "negotiate resolutions" that are not possible otherwise. That's just the way it is.
And the best firm I
know of to help is Lexington Law Credit Repair. It's their speciality and it will save you much more money than it ever costs you!
They also offer a completely free 151 page book on dealing with creditors, as well as a personal credit evaluation. What do
you have to lose?
Here's a few myths that are covered in the free book:
Page 10 - The truth behind statements like "Only time can cure bad credit"
Page 41 - Six real-life stories prove credit reporting is not black-and-white
Page 73 - Four tips for dealing with creditors while you repair your credit
Page 94 - The real reason why bad credit can stay on your reports 7 years
Page 104 - Three things you think would raise your credit score but do not
Page 111 - Five life events that can unfairly destroy your credit rating
Even if you're thinking your credit is fine and you don't need to borrow money anyway, you should still keep one eye on your
credit score. It's often one of the first "red flags" when there's an identity theft problem.
#11 - Clean Up Your Own Name! Have You Googled Yourself Lately?
Legal self-help begins with you! Here's another area you really need to keep tabs on. Chances are other people are Googling you or using other methods of online searches
to find out information about you. It could be friend or foe.
Maybe the bank where you're trying to get a loan or a potential
employer. No matter who's checking on you, check on yourself - it's free! If you find some information that is less than complementary
or that you'd like removed for whatever reason, there are companies that can help you.
Spiffing up your image usually saves you much more than it costs. Go ahead. Do a search - for YOU - yes, yourself. If it's not that great,
#12 - Calculate What The Major Events In Your Life Will Cost - or Save You.
What does it cost you to live, or to die, and all that happens in between? Check out our Cost of Living Calculators.
They're free, and are great legal self help tools.
Here are some of our most popular cost calculators:
Give these cost estimators a try and see how your life's adding up!
Power and resources for legal self help have been made available more rapidly than most of us can utilize it. Habits are
hard to change. If you've got a computer, you've got a great start to solving your legal problems.
And when it saves you time, and money, and possibly a life; this technology at least deserves a closer look.
Stay safe and stay legal.
Do You Have Legal Self Help Tips You Could Share?
If you've got story to tell or some helpful information, please take a minute to share it.
I'm sure that there's someone that will appreciate it along the way.
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