Gulf Winds Members are Eligible for Prepaid Legal Program
Gulf Winds Credit Union members are eligible to enroll in Staples, Ellis & Associates' prepaid legal program. The program was established with the philosophy that legal representation should be affordable to all people, regardless of wealth. Prepaid legal is essentially a type of legal insurance. You receive up to 30 hours of legal counsel a year, if you need it, for an annual fee of $156. Prepaid legal plan members do not have to worry about paying for attorney fees to the firm due to the annual membership, as long as they do not exceed 30 hours of legal work in one year. Personally, I am unaware of any member that has exceeded 30 hours of legal work within the last year. Please note, preexisting conditions are not eligible for coverage under the prepaid law program. Read the complete regulations guiding this program HERE.
The Gulf Winds Credit Union Prepaid Legal Plan was started by my father, Thomas C. Staples, in 1978 and has been in operation ever since. Over the years, we have represented thousands of prepaid legal members in different areas of law. Some members choose to join only for a will and powers of attorney and decide to leave the plan after a year. However, most prepaid legal members appreciate having the law firm as their attorney, and choose to stay in the plan for years and even decades.
How the program is used
In today’s legal environment, when someone needs an attorney, they are customarily charged a consultation fee of $300 or more depending on the area of law. With the Prepaid Legal Plan that consultation fee is eliminated, as the member pays a yearly fee of $156. The Prepaid Legal Plan also covers you and your dependents claimed pursuant to federal tax laws. Many of our prepaid legal members come to us for support with their will, estate planning, criminal matters, traffic citations and family law, but here are a few other examples of the issues we can address for prepaid legal members:
- Contract reviews: It seems the world is always covered by a contract when you purchase anything. We have reviewed contracts for roofing, remodels, car purchases, etc., for members to rely on in evaluating whether they should go through with the contract or rescind it, if such relief is available.
- Hurricane claims: Many times hurricane claims impact our prepaid legal plan members, and we are asked to review contracts from unscrupulous contractors taking advantage of hurricane damage. We can answer important questions like — Is the contractor insured? Does the contractor maintain workers compensation such that if there is an injury to a contractor’s employee that the member is not sued?
- Fighting collection companies: The firm has represented members in defense of aggressive tactics in collection companies that purchase debts and then sue members to collect amounts that are unjustified, amounts with excessive interest, and attorney fees that are not reasonable. Many times, the members have defenses to these tactics, but they are unable to hire a law firm due to the costs of attorney fees.
- Letters for personal matters: For example, the firm has represented many members involving boundary disputes with neighbors.
- Much more: We handle all sorts of legal issues — give us a call and see how we can work with you!
While you may not need the services of an attorney as often as you do a doctor, when legal issues do arise, the need is no less urgent. With our legal services plan, you will have the peace of mind knowing the lawyers you will work with are seasoned trial attorneys with more than 40 years of cumulative experience.
Learn more about prepaid legal and sign up HERE.
Thomas M. Staples
Mr. Thomas Staples has been an Associate Attorney at Staples, Ellis + Associates since 2016. He worked in the Public Defender's Office from 2009-2016 after graduating Cum Laude from the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami Gardens, Florida.