Deal Finder: Ways to Save on Legal Services
By LaTina Emerson, The Shopper Deal Finder
During the course of life, people of all ages are bound to have legal needs, from finalizing wills, estates and advance healthcare directives to dealing with family issues such as divorce, child support and alimony.
Everyone can’t afford to pay an attorney, but there are organizations and low-cost options available to ensure that all people have access to high-quality legal services.
Georgia Legal Services Program
The Georgia Legal Services Program provides free, legal services to low-income and senior-aged Georgians for a wide variety of legal matters. The program serves Georgians in 154 counties who live outside of metro Atlanta and whose earnings do not exceed 200 percent above the federal poverty line or are aged 60 years and older.
The nonprofit corporation’s mission is to create equal access to justice and opportunities out of poverty. Attorneys and advocates are available to assist with legal services in a number of practice areas: consumer law, education law, farm workers’ rights, family law, housing law and public benefits.
The program has 10 field offices. These are the closest offices to Coweta County:
Piedmont: 104 Marietta Street NW, Suite 240, Atlanta, Ga. 30303, 404-894-7707
Columbus: 233 12th Street, Suite 910, Columbus, Ga. 31902, 706-649-7493
For more information about the Georgia Legal Services Program, visit https://www.glsp.org or call 1-888-408-1004.
Military Legal Assistance Program
The Military Legal Assistance Program offered by the State Bar of Georgia assists military service members and veterans by connecting them to State Bar members who are willing to provide free or reduced fee legal services.
Service members and veterans often face legal and financial issues related to the sacrifices made during their military service. Depending on eligibility, clients will be connected to a lawyer in their region who has expertise in their area of legal need.
The program helps veterans who have service-connected disability legal issues and service members who have civil, non-criminal legal needs. Those eligible for the program include: 1) service members, including reservists and National Guard members, with ranks E-5 or below, 2) all service members with issues related to deployment, 3) military retirees and 100 percent disabled veterans who are facing a financial hardship (presumed if the veteran’s income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level), and 4) veterans seeking assistance with service-connected disability or other VA benefits.
Download the application for the State Bar of Georgia Military Legal Assistance Program: https://www.gabar.org/publicservice/upload/GaBar-Agreement-Form.pdf.
Other Legal Aid or Pro Bono Programs
To receive help with a legal problem in Georgia, visit www.GeorgiaLegalAid.org for a directory of civil legal assistance programs. At the top of the website’s homepage, go to the “Find Help” tab to search the directory, which includes organizations such as the Georgia Innocence Project and Georgia Lawyers for the Arts. The site also offers general information about a variety of legal topics.
For free or low-cost legal help outside of Georgia, visit www.LawHelp.org.
Shop Around for the Best Price
If your income is too high to qualify for free legal services, but you’re on a strict budget, shop around. Call several attorney’s offices and inquire about their billing rates and costs for specific services, such as assisting with wills or healthcare directive documents. Some attorneys offer a free initial consultation.
Low-Cost Legal Documents
If you’re comfortable doing some of the work yourself involving legal documents, several websites have forms available to the public. Visit https://www.legalzoom.com, https://trustandwill.com and https://www.rocketlawyer.com to find a variety of forms, such as those required for wills, trusts, intellectual property and business formation, as well as information on these legal topics.