How to get your Solicitors fees paid for you: Legal Aid
If you are on a low income or receive benefits and can’t afford solicitor fees then, you may be eligible for Legal Aid – so you get help at no cost to you. However not all solicitors’ firms will offer Legal Aid work so you will need to search around.
The Legal Services Commission, manages Legal Aid and guarantees that all solicitors’ firms that offer Legal Aid meet high quality standards.
Free Legal services
There are also UK charities whose primary aim is to provide free legal help to individuals and specific community groups who cannot afford to pay for it and who are unable to access Legal Aid.
There are many online UK legal sites that will provide you free not-for-profit legal services, quotes, support and advice on accidents, conveyancing, crime, debt, divorce, employment, housing, and wills. Some even send you legal advice via email while providing information on UK solicitors.
Sites like solicitors.co.uk are useful for finding free online solicitors and charities that you can begin to work with. Others like ibblaw.co.uk will explain the advantages and disadvantages of free legal representation. It does help to use these free services to gather as much legal advice as possible. You’ll most likely save on your solicitor fees if you’ve done some research before hand.
Often solicitors, charities, insurance companies and other organisations offer free legal advice or services. Free Wills are an example, and illustrate how solicitors can use one service as a loss leader to gain substantial future business.
Like all people in business, solicitors know that by offering you a Will – worth maybe £100, they may also get the probate business – that is, the work in administering your estate when you die. They often charge 2.5% of the estate value for probate work. If the value of the estate is worth £400,000, they will charge your estate £10,000. So with all ‘free offers’, its worth asking: ‘What’s the catch?’. Once you know the answer, you can check out their rates for the other work they expect from you, and decide if its worth it.
Free legal helplines
Its worth checking if any of your own insurance policies or memberships of organisations or financial institutions entitle you to free helplines or legal advice. These are often bundled together with other services. For instance, your home insurance company may provide a helpline which can be used to access legal advice. They provide such services because it is in their interest to identify and solve problems before they become serious.