Build your legal team for just $15 a month

Image caption: The monthly fee will likely pay for itself with just one legal task completed—the average will preparation, for example, costs $456.

Pssst, you really should update your will. And hey, you might want to get that contractor agreement looked at by someone who knows the law. Or maybe you've been meaning to transfer assets to a family member but aren't sure where to start.

If you anticipate needing any legal help this year, you may want to consider enrolling in the Hyatt Legal Plan, a voluntary benefit offered to JHU employees. The $15-a-month plan gives JHU employees and their dependents access to a network of 12,000 attorneys who can offer legal advice and representation for everything from drawing up routine legal documents to handling a crisis such as identity theft or a tax audit.

Know your benefits

10 ways JHU employees can customize their coverage

Once enrolled, you can simply pick up the phone and call anytime you need legal advice or representation—at no additional cost.

"They cover a lot of legal needs, and there is no extra charge for those. It's fully covered," says JHU benefits representative Patty Garmon. Attorneys in the network are paid directly by the legal plan, but you can also opt to use a non-plan attorney and get reimbursed for eligible services according to a set fee schedule.

There are, of course, exclusions—divorces and business matters aren't covered, for example—but the plan covers a long list of services, including consumer protection, immigration assistance, debt matters, defense of civil lawsuits, document preparation, family law, real estate matters, some traffic and criminal matters, and wills and estates. If your legal needs are outside the bounds of what's covered by the plan, you'll still get a written estimate of the cost for legal representation.

Coverage isn't limited to newly discovered problems, which means that as long as you haven't already hired an attorney to resolve a problem, you'll have access to the same unlimited calls and in-office consultations as a newly discovered issue. In fact, plan participants are encouraged to use their coverage to resolve as many legal issues as possible, according to Mercer Voluntary Benefits, which administers the plan for JHU.

That means that while the monthly fee will likely pay for itself with just one legal task completed—the average will preparation, for example, costs $456, according to Mercer—if you've got several legal projects you've been putting off, this might just be the year to enroll and get them all done.

Who's eligible: Full-time faculty, staff, and bargaining unit members

When do I sign up? At hire or during Annual Enrollment, Oct. 20 through Nov. 7, 2017