LegalZoom Review: Pros, Cons, & Alternatives

BY Reviano Team, Dec 31, 2023


Northwest Registered Agent Review
Review Summary

Service Name:


LegalZoom

Service Type:


Business Formation Services

Monthly fee:


Starting at $39 per month

Summary:

LegalZoom is an online legal service provider that offers legal aid to businesses and individuals. It also provides LLC formation services to entrepreneurs and business owners looking to form a business entity.

Rating:

As a business owner or entrepreneur, you need the help of a business formation service to guide you through forming a business entity. You also need the help of a reliable online legal service provider to navigate the legal landscape of starting a business. LegalZoom is an online legal service offering business formation services and legal solutions to business owners and entrepreneurs.

In this review, we covered everything about LegalZoom. We highlighted the services it offers, how it works, the pros and cons, and how it compares to other popular legal and LLC service providers in the industry.

What is LegalZoom?

LegalZoom is an online platform that offers legal services to individuals, entrepreneurs, and those looking to start a new business. It is the go-to source for all legal-related matters for your personal, professional, or business needs.

Whether you are looking to form an LLC, protect your intellectual property, or need legal aid for your marriage, LegalZoom can help. While it's not a law firm, the online legal service provider helps address customer's legal needs by partnering with professional legal consultants and lawyers.

Who Would Benefit from LegalZoom's Services?

  • Employers
  • Couples and families.
  • Landlords and tenants.
  • Small business owners looking to form an LLC.
  • Entrepreneurs looking to start a business.
  • Individuals who need personal legal docs.
  • Average Individuals looking for ongoing legal advice

LegalZoom Services

You must understand what they offer before signing up for LegalZoom's services. This will make it easy to determine whether they fit your business formation or legal needs.

  • Legal forms
  • Registered agent service
  • Business formation service
  • Articles of organization
  • Document storage
  • Operating agreement service
  • Digital welcome packet
  • Customizable website
  • Legal advice
  • Online document preparation
  • Tax advisory service

Pros

  • Fixed fee
  • Transparent pricing
  • Impressive phone support
  • 60-days satisfaction guarantee
  • Offers a series of legal services
  • Customizable legal forms
  • Expedited processing
  • Amazing online reputation.
  • Impressive review on Trustpilot
  • Extended customer support hours
  • Offers unlimited cloud storage for all your documents

Cons

  • Upsells
  • More expensive than its competitors
  • Expensive registered agent fees ($299/yr.)
  • Additional services can be expensive
  • Not all documents are accessible online

LegalZoom Services in Detail

Before signing up for LegalZoom, you must understand, in detail, the services it offers.

Legal forms

Are you looking to create business incorporation documents, divorce papers, or last will and testament? LegalZoom legal forms service is exactly what you need. The company offers customers an array of legal forms and templates created by expert attorneys. It's up to the customer to customize, create, download, print, store, or share the form.

Registered agent service

Like many LLC formation services, LegalZoom offers registered agent services to its customers. The service costs $299 annually and comes with alerts whenever your LLC gets mail and Email. It also:

  • Notifies you when deadlines are approaching.
  • Offers identity theft protection up to $ 1 million.
  • Provides unlimited cloud storage for your business documents
  • Offers you access to a compliance calendar (has a standalone cost of $69).

LegalZoom's registered agent services are more expensive than those of its competitors. And remember, a registered service agent's job is to accept legal documents on the business owners' behalf and send them to their address.

Business formation service.

Are you a new business owner looking to form a legal entity for your business? LegalZoom LLC's formation services can help. The online legal service company makes it easy for individuals to get their business off the ground by offering LLC formation plans, including name check service, registered agent service, article of organization, employer identification number application (EIN), etc.

Whether you are an LLC, corporation, nonprofit, DBA, or sole proprietor, LegalZoom LLC formation service has you covered. The best part? It's free. However, you are required to pay state filing fees.

Articles of organization.

Articles of organization are essential documents (business name, members address, etc.) needed to form a business entity in the United States. Lucky for you, LegalZoom can help you file articles of organization for free. Depending on the State, you must pay the filing fee, which ranges from $40 to $500.

Document storage.

In addition to its LLC formation services, LegalZoom also provides customers with secure storage to save their business docs. With this storage, customers can store, access, and retrieve their legal documents online whenever they want to.

Operating agreement service.

Not all states require an operating agreement when forming your LLC. Regardless, you should have one. LegalZoom offers an operating agreement service that you can add to your package.

LegalZoom will create an operating agreement for you for $99 or $199 when bundled with an EIN, business license, and permit. After answering a few questions about your business, the legal doc will be generated. If you pay an extra $100, LegalZoom will scrutinize the document and send it to the appropriate agency using express shipping.

Digital welcome packet

After successfully registering your LLC, LegalZoom will send you a digital welcome packet. The packet offers the help and guidance needed to set up a business entity. And if you like, you can add a founder's kit. This bonus is also available to those who go for the premium packages.

The founder's kit contains all your essential documents in divided sections and helps ensure your business operations align with the laws and regulations.  

Customizable website

Every business needs a website to boost its presence and promote its products or services. LegalZoom partners with Wix to offer customers access to a personalized website. The website can be customized for your business during formation. You can access this feature in the free plan.

Legal advice

Are you an individual in need of legal help? Or a business owner in dire need of legal advice? LegalZoom partners its customers with independent attorneys for less than $50 monthly. These expert attorneys will ensure that you get the legal help you need.

Plus, they'll answer questions on any legal matter about business contracts, intellectual property, etc. However, note that LegalZoom itself isn't a law firm. It doesn't provide legal advice or assistance.

Online document preparation

With LegalZoom, customers have access to an array of legal documents. These documents can be customized to suit your business, prepared and filed online or printed. Of course, you can decide to store or share it.

Common examples of these documents are limited liability companies, wills, copyrights, affidavit forms, real estate forms, and financial account authorization, which is necessary for business owners looking to start a business bank account.

Tax advisory service

LegalZoom connects customers to tax professionals. The job of these professionals is to provide unlimited tax advice to business owners and individuals looking for advice on tax-related issues. LegalZoom's tax advisory service has you covered whether you have an S Corp, partnership, or other complex tax preparation needs.

In addition to its LLC business formation services, registered agent services, online document preparation services, etc., LegalZoom has other extra services at its disposal.

These services include incorporation services, trademark registration (starting at $199 plus state filing fees), copyright registration (starting at $114 plus state filing fees), foreign qualification (starting at $299 plus state or federal filing fees), etc.

 PS: Visit LegalZoom's website for more info on their services. You can also reach out to LegalZoom customer service if you have questions.

LegalZoom Services Pricing

Are you a small business owner looking to form an LLC? Or are you looking for help to address your legal issues? LegalZoom has 3 plans to select from. It has the basic plan, the Pro Plan, and the Premium Plan. It also offers a Business Advisory plan to complement other plans.

Basic LLC Formation plan ($0 plus state filing fees)

This plan is very popular among LegalZoom LLC formation packages because it's free. It consists of everything you need to establish a business entity and register a limited liability company in your state.

Here are the services in this LLC formation plan:

  • Name check.
  • Business filing services.
  • Articles of organization.
  • Support via Email and chat.
  • Customizable website supported by Wix.
  • Digital welcome packet.

Who is the Business Advisory plan for?

This plan is perfect if you want LegalZoom's LLC essentials like business filing. You should also consider the plan if you aren’t in a haste to form your business entity, as the turnaround time is 30 business days or more.

Pro LLC Formation Plan ($249 Plus State Filing Fees)

This package has all the features in the previous package (basic package). It also has the following features:

  • Financial account authorization letter.
  • Operating Agreement.
  • Federal Tax ID Number (EIN)
  • A personalized consultation with a licensed NEXT insurance personnel.
  • Business licenses and permits guide.
  • Support is available via email, chat, and phone.
  • Tax consultation with a small business expert.

Who is the Business Advisory plan for?

This plan contains all the features in the previous plans, plus some extra perks like a financial account authorization letter, business license guide, etc. Choose this plan to get your legal or business documents faster.

Premium LLC Formation Plan ($299 plus State Filing Fees)

This plan contains all the basic and Pro LLC formation plan features. It also has these features:

  • 3 months subscription to a full library of customizable legal forms and a monthly copyright registration.
  • 3 monthly subscriptions for Attorney Assistance.
  • Attorney review of your legal contracts and documents.
  • An entity amendment with expedited service for 90 days.

Who is the Business Advisory plan for?

LegalZoom premium package is ideal for individuals who want to form their business without delay. However, we recommend considering other lower packages or a different LLC formation service if you want to save money.

The Business advisory plan

The business advisory plan offers legal assistance to business owners. This assistance includes tax advice, independent attorney consultations, and access to legal forms.

Here are the features included in the plan:

  • Unlimited downloads from legal form library.
  • Contract/legal document review (up to 10 pages).
  • 30-minute attorney consultation per legal issue.
  • Yearly business assessment (with the 12-month plan only).

You can get these plans by paying $469 per year (equivalent to $39.08 per month) or $259 (equivalent to $43.16 per month), charged every six months.

Who is the Business Advisory plan for?

It is for startup and new business owners looking for expert legal assistance and advice, including other legal solutions for their business legal needs.

LegalZoom FAQs

What is LegalZoom’s LLC formation turnaround time?

It takes LegalZoom around 5 days to two weeks to register your business entity (you still have to factor in processing time for each state). However, if you want to speed things up, you can pay an extra fee for the Express Gold Package. It comes with expedited processing, ensuring your documents are processed within 2-3 days. 

Is LegalZoom Legit?

Yes. With a review of 4.6/5 from over 3,000 customers, it’s safe to say that the online legal service is legit. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gave it an A rating, signaling that the company is trustworthy, transparent, compliant, and honest. We screened its online reviews and found no indication that the company was illegitimate.

Are LegalZoom documents legal?

Yes, they are. LegalZoom's legal documents are created with the help of licensed attorneys and tax experts with over five years of experience. This ensures its documents are legal and comply with the necessary laws. 

Can I form an LLC without physically being present in the US?

Of course. If you are a nonresident of the US, you can create an LLC under the laws of any of the states you select. However, there may be some limitations under multiple state laws.

Does LegalZoom offer a refund?

Yes, it does. The online legal services offer customers a "satisfaction guarantee" that provides refunds within 60 days of purchase if they are unhappy with the services. The refund doesn’t include fees, taxes, and other payments made to government bodies. It also doesn't include fees paid to third parties who process your order, e.g., courier fees, fees paid directly to attorneys, etc.

Is LegalZoom a good online legal service for small businesses?

Yes. LegalZoom's LLC formation services are suitable for small businesses due to the affordability of some of its services. The same goes for its online legal services.

Is LegalZoom Free?

LegalZoom offers customers an option that can help set up your LLC at zero cost. But you'll be the one to do the paperwork with little support from LegalZoom. You'll be given access to the necessary documents and guidelines to form your LLC. And don't forget, you'll still have to pay state filing fees.

Can I form an LLC on My own?

Yes, you can. You'll need to decide on a business name and designated registered agent, get a copy of your state's LLC articles of organization forms, prepare and file it, create an operating agreement, and keep your LLC active. You may want to consider an LLC formation service to avoid the stress of doing it yourself.

Is LegalZoom ideal for starting an LLC?

Legal Zoom has all the basic services needed to form an LLC. However, their add-on services, like annual report filing and registered agent services, can be expensive as you need to pay a separate fee for each.

What Do Customers Say About LegalZoom?

Judging by its impressive rating on Trustpilot (4.6/5 from over 3,000 reviews), Sitejabber (4.31/5 from over 1600 reviews), and Better Business Bureau (4.64/5 from over 13,000 reviews), it's fair to say that most LegalZoom customers are satisfied with its services.

Many of LegalZoom's reviews cite its transparency, supportive customer support, extremely knowledgeable staff, easy process, amazing experience, etc. While the company has many positive reviews to boast about, customers still have some negative things to say about its services.

For instance, customers weren't pleased with its annoying upselling tactics and customer service. There were also many complaints about the high cost of its services and being charged for things they didn’t sign up for.

LegalZoom Alternatives & Competitors

Compared with other top business formation services and registered agents, how does LegalZoom stack up? Let's see.

NorthWest Registered Agent logo

Though it offers business formation services, Northwest’s main specialization is providing registered service agents to businesses. While Northwest's LLC formation service has similar features to LegalZoom's, it has some edge over its competitor. Northwest doesn’t upsell. Its registered agent service is free for the first year, has a better basic plan package, and offers a faster turnaround time.

LegalZoom's strength lies in its legal services, a feature Northwest lacks. And unlike Northwest, it offers a satisfaction guarantee. Northwest is best if you want a reliable registered agent solution with affordable LLC filing services. But choose Legal Zoom if you need legal aid.

Pros

  • The less confusing pricing structure
  • Doesn’t annoy customers with upselling tactics
  • Outstanding customer service
  • Commitment to Privacy

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a free business formation plan
  • Not BBB accredited
  • Offers expensive add-ons
Incfile logo
4.4

Incifile is one of the most affordable LLC services, offering free registered agent service for a year, compared to LegalZoom ($299/year). LLC filing service also has a better online reputation and turnaround time than LegalZoom. Plus, its upsells, which aren't pushy, are also of better value than its rivals.

In terms of services offeredhowever, LegalZoom is superior to Incfile. It adds extra perks for its free package and has a readily accessible customer service team. Unlike Incfile, the company is also the ideal one-stop option for a business's legal needs. Incfile is a good option for those who want to form an LLC on a budget. We recommend LegalZoom to small businesses who need legal advice for complex registrations.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • User-friendly dashboard
  • Fast checkout process
  • Has an impressive review on Trustpilot (4.7/5 from over 15,000 reviews).
  • Access to Bank of America‘s small business bank accounts
  • Offers unlimited phone and customer support

Cons

  • Slow customer support
  • Costly add-ons
  • Limited add-on options
  • Hard to reach customer support.
Zenbusiness logo

ZenBusiness offers customers many attractive perks, including affordable pricing ( better than LegalZoom), ease of use, and high-quality service bundles. The LLC formation service also offers customers free registered services for the first year, whereas LegalZoom charges customers ($299). Its basic package offers better value than its competitor .

Legal Zoom doesn’t have much edge over ZenBusiness, especially regarding its LLC services. However, its legal services are one feature ZenBusiness lacks, making it ideal for individuals who need more than just business formation. ZenBusiness, however, is great for those looking for the best LLC service.

Pros

  • Personalized service
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Exceptional rating on Trustpilot
  • Over 2,000,000 new businesses formed
  • Rated A+ by Better Business Bureau

Cons

  • Adds EIN to its Pro and Premium package, but it's missing from its Started Pack.
  • It doesn't offer much guidance during the formation process
Inc authority logo

Both Inc Authority and LegalZoom offer LLC services. However, the former has the upper hand with its free LLC formation bundle, affordable pricing on basic formations, and registered service agent.

While none of the services have fast turnaround times, Inc Authority offers a more affordable expedition option and better customer service. LegalZoom's refund policy, transparency, and ease of use are some of its strengths. Consider Inc Authority if you need assistance with just LLC registration paperwork. If you want a service that offers more than just LLC services, go for LegalZoom.

Pros

  • Impressive track record
  • Reliable customer service team
  • Free registered service agent for a year
  • Exceptional customer reviews on Trustpilot

Cons

  • Upsells
  • Pricing not transparent
  • No refund
  • Not BBB accredited
Harbor Compliance

Harbor Compliance

4

Harbor Compliance provides business formation and compliance solutions to business owners. It offers free registered agent services for a year and charges ($99/ year after that) compared to LegalZoom, which charges ($299). Plus, the company has a fast turnaround time, exceptional customer service, and doesn’t upsell like its counterpart.

However, LegalZoom has an edge in some areas regardless of its features. The legal services company has a better rating on Trustpilot (4.6/5), offers refunds, and provides more robust formation packages than its counterpart. LegalZoom offers help to businesses and individuals with legal issues. Go for Harbor Compliance if you need comprehensive compliance solutions.

Pros

  • Very fast
  • Easy to use
  • Exceptional customer service and customer support
  • Offers many formation services
  • Fast turnaround time

Cons

  • It doesn’t have a mobile app
  • Expensive LLC formation packages
  • Old website
BetterLegal-logo

BetterLegal's plain pricing and quick turnaround time (2 days) sets it apart from other LLC formation services. Plus, it doesn't use upselling tactics like its counterpart and offers a more affordable registered agent service ($90 per year or $10 per month.) than Legal Zoom ($299).

Though compelling, these features don't make BetterLegal better than LegalZoom, which offers a free plan, robust services, and a refund. And while BetterLegal has limited customer service, LegalZoom boasts of a supportive customer service team. Consider BetterLegal if you want to set up your business quickly.

Pros

  • Fastest turnaround time
  • Straightforward pricing
  • Offers lone formation package for incorporation
  • A+ BBB Accredited

Cons

  • Zero refund
  • Limited customer care
  • No legal support
Rocket Lawyer-logo

Rocket Lawyer

3

Like LegalZoom, Rocket Lawyer is an online legal service that offers businesses legal solutions, advice, and formation services. While both platforms offer the same services, they differ in some areas. Rocket Lawyer, for instance, provides its users with affordable registered agent services while allowing them free access to its operating agreement service. Add that to its high-quality service bundles, fast turnaround time, and better pricing.

However, LegalZoom LLC has the upper hand. Its LLC package has more features than Rocket Lawyer. Plus, it’s easy to use and comes with pricing that isn't confusing. You can sign up for their service if you need a company that offers robust LLC services.

Pros

  • Fastest turnaround time
  • Offers money-back guarantee (30 days)
  • Offers free LLC for new members
  • Offers discounts on various legal services for members

Cons

  • À la carte legal documents are expensive
  • Collects credit card details during signup

Final CONCLUSION

Overall, LegalZoom's LLC formation service is decent. The same goes for its online legal services. However, its business formation service is more expensive than most competitors, making it inaccessible for business owners with a shoestring budget.

One thing we liked about the platform is its online legal services, which address almost every area of individuals' and businesses' legal needs. So, we recommend LegalZoom for those looking for a reliable online service for their legal needs. However, we suggest you consider Inc Authority or Incfile for more affordable LLC formation services.