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Separation is difficult enough without worrying about paying for legal advice. Not sure where to start? Call us on 02 7202 2427 and we can help. 

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Legal Loans

Smarter

Nothing to pay until your matter is settled, or the loan term is complete

Fairer

Approval based on expected property settlement, not income

Supportive

Borrow to fund legal fees between $25,000 and $400,000

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Benefits

A better, faster and fairer way to access legal advice

Peace of mind

Have the confidence in knowing you can pay your lawyers on time. We can even clear outstanding fees as well as future costs

No repayments until settlement

You won’t need to make any payments to us until the end of your loan term.

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Is a Plenti legal fee loan for me?

Thinking we might be what you need? Here are the people choosing us every day:

Earning a limited income

Loans based on a likely property settlement, not income

Making a financial choice

When you'd prefer to deploy your finance elsewhere

Staying independent

When securing your own funds is a strategic choice

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Guides

Legal fee loans explained

When it comes to funding your legal matter, it pays to make smart decisions. Learn all you need to know about legal finance with our handy lending guides. 

"Knowing I don't need to make any repayments until my divorce matter settles has removed a huge stress from what is already a stressful situation."

- Sam, QLD

"Plenti has been a godsend, I really don't know what I would have done without this facility. No overcharging and so easy to do business with."

- Sean, NSW

"It was a tough time for me to deal with the legal issues and Plenti took the financial pressure off my shoulders. It was efficient, stress-free and extremely professional."

- Rita, VIC

Apply for a legal fee loan now

Back

Legal fee loans exist to help you level the legal playing field.

A relationship breakdown can be a challenging and confusing time to begin with – and worrying about how to pay for legal advice can make it even harder. With a legal fee loan, you can focus on finding the right advice, without worrying about how to pay for it upfront. 

A legal fee loan is a special type of personal loan designed to help you pay for family law matters. It can give you the funds you need to get the right advice from your lawyer and is repaid once a resolution is reached. Unlike a standard personal loan or a credit card, legal fee loans are specially designed to support you through this difficult stage. 

Financing for your unique situation

When it comes to most other personal loans, you have to make choices about your loan type. Will it be secured or unsecured? Do you want a fixed or variable interest rate?

Legal fee loans work differently. They’re specifically designed to allow you to borrow what you need, when you need it. Unlike some other loans, you don’t need to draw down the full amount upfront. And you only need to repay the loan once you’ve received your property settlement. Plus, you only pay interest on what you use. 

It’s a form of asset-based lending, helping you unlock cash tied up in your assets by securing them against your loan. But that doesn’t mean you have to own real estate – other assets, like funds in trust, may be used in some circumstances.

What can I use the funds for?

If you’re wondering more specifically what a legal fee loan is for, the good news is, it isn’t just a loan for legal fees – it’s there to help you cover all of the costs associated with the legal process.

That can include a wide range of associated third-party costs like:

  • Your barrister
  • Valuers
  • Accountants to investigate the total value of the asset pool, complicated structures and asset protection schemes 
  • Non-confrontational alternative dispute resolution (ADR) like mediation, arbitration and pre-action procedures

Anything that is connected to the matter can be covered. It can also be used for personal reasons, such as paying for a financial planner or making home improvements prior to putting the property on the market. 

How much can I borrow?

With a legal fee loan, you can borrow between $25,000 and $400,000 – usually up to 30% of the expected property settlement. You won’t face any repayments until the division of your property is complete.

A legal fee loan is a type of personal loan. While the pieces are the same, a legal fee loan works a little differently from what you might expect from a standard personal loan. Let’s look at the elements that make up a legal fee loan: 

Interest rate

Borrowing money helps you access the financial support you need, but it does come at a cost. Like most loans, legal fee loans need to be paid back with interest. The amount of interest you’ll pay on top of the amount you borrow is a percentage of what you owe. It’s usually measured as an annual rate and is called the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) or Advertised Rate.

And remember, the lowest interest rate doesn’t always mean the best loan for you. Be sure to consider the total cost of the loan including interest, fees and other costs to get a complete picture.

Repayments

This is where most personal loans and legal fee loans differ. With a standard personal loan, once you receive your loan, you need to start paying it back through regularly scheduled repayments, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

A legal fee loan is different. It’s secured against your forthcoming property settlement and it’s not expected that you will have the cash to start repaying the loan until you receive this settlement. So, rather than repay the loan in instalments, you repay it as a lump sum out of your share of the property settlement once it’s finalised.

You also only access the money when you need it. So if you don’t draw down your entire loan amount, you’ll only pay interest on the amount you actually accessed.

Loan amount

The loan amount is the amount of money you borrow, plus any fees and charges capitalised into the loan amount. It’s this amount that you’ll pay interest on. However, with a legal fee loan, you only draw down the money as you need it. So you only pay interest on the amount you access.

In Australia, legal fee loans usually range from $25,000-$400,000.

Loan term

When you take out a standard personal loan, you agree to the length of time it will take you to repay the loan. For personal loans, where you also commit to making regular repayments, lenders usually offer loan terms between 1 and 7 years.

With a legal fee loan, however, you’re only expected to repay the loan once your property settles. So the loan term for legal fee loans allows for this process to happen – typically up to 2 years. If your property doesn’t settle within the 2-year loan term, an extension may be available.

Upfront fees

Most loans also come with an upfront cost to set up the loan. Known as upfront, establishment or application fees, they can include:

  • A flat fee (e.g. $499) that applies regardless of the value of the loan
  • A tiered fee (e.g. $250, $500, $750) based on the value of the loan
  • A percentage fee (e.g. 3%) based on the total amount borrowed and the credit or risk profile of the customer
  • A hybrid fee (e.g. $200 + 2% of the loan amount)

It’s up to your lender what fees they choose to charge. But keep in mind, these upfront fees aren’t actually paid upfront – they’re usually capitalised to the loan balance, meaning you pay them back with the remainder of the loan. This increases your total loan amount, meaning you’ll be paying interest on those fees as well for the life of your loan. If it’s a small upfront fee, it might not make much of a difference. But if the fees are significant, they can add thousands to the total cost of your loan.

Monthly or ongoing fees

Most loans also come with a monthly cost. Also called ongoing, account-keeping or loan management fees. These fees don’t go towards paying back your loan. In general, the lower the fees, the better. But as always, you should consider the total cost of your loan including all interest payable and other charges when you compare loans.

With a legal fee loan, you’ll still be charged a monthly fee, but it will also be capitalised into the loan, so you pay it at settlement.

Brokerage fees

If you turn to a broker to help you find finance, remember that you’ll be paying for their service, whether you realise it or not. It’s important to factor in these costs when you’re comparing your finance options. For personal loans, the brokerage fee will typically be capitalised to the loan amount and is in addition to the lender’s own upfront fee. Sometimes brokers also have commission arrangements with lenders, either built into your interest rate or offered as a return based on your interest rate.

Penalty fees

Missed payment or ‘default’ fees are the most common penalty fee for personal loans. They’re a more relevant risk when you’re repaying your loan monthly, because one late payment can result in a fee. Late fees can vary from $10 to as much as $35 per default.

With a legal fee loan, you’re not required to make monthly repayments, so you’re at less risk of defaulting. If your settlement hasn’t come through by the end of your loan term, an extension might be possible.

Customer experience

When you’re making comparisons with other ways to finance your matter, there’s one more important question to answer: who will provide me the best experience? Look for a lender that makes it quick and easy to apply, get approved and manage your loan. These are good signs that a company values your experience, and that can go a long way to help you feel satisfied with your loan and trust that you’re getting a good deal.

How much does it cost?

To work out the overall cost of your legal finance, you need to factor in:

1. Loan Interest Rates: The biggest factor in how much a legal fee loan will cost you is the rate of interest you’ll pay on the amount borrowed. Legal fee loans can come with variable or fixed interest rates. If you are opting for a variable-rate loan, it is best to also calculate a worst-case scenario, one where a loan’s interest rates rise significantly in the future to be sure you have a comfortable buffer in the event things change. At Plenti, our legal fee loan interest rates are always variable. Interest is only paid on the amount outstanding, once a settlement is reached.   

2. Upfront Fees: ‘Establishment’ or application fees for all loans can vary greatly, so it’s an area where shopping around can make a difference. 

At Plenti, we have one upfront fee on our family law loans. The credit assistance fee is 4% on the amount of credit sought. This is a one-off fee capitalised to the loan at the time of the initial drawdown. This means you won’t actually pay the fee upfront, rather, it will be added to your repayments at the time of settlement. 

3. Ongoing Fees: These fees are charged throughout the life of the loan. Common ongoing fees include: 

  • Monthly or annual fees (also called account keeping fees)
  • Default, dishonour or missed payment fees
  • Hidden fees in the terms and conditions of a loan 

At Plenti we never add hidden fees. We charge two types of ongoing fees for legal fee loans: 

  • An $80 monthly fee
  • A risk assurance charge, which is 5% on every dollar drawn down on the loan
  • Some loans also require a security fee, if caveats are required for the security of the loan, these fees are $980 for caveats and $1300 for mortgages

Each of these fees is capitalised to the loan, so you only pay them once you begin making repayments.

To find the true cost of a loan, you can combine the costs of these fees with the interest rate of the loan. As long as you are comparing the same loan terms and amount, a comparison rate helps you to compare the cost of different loans. 

At Plenti, typical borrowers incur effective costs of about 11% p.a. 

Now that you understand the building blocks of a legal fee loan, you’ll be better able to decide which loan suits you. Planning and considering your situation upfront will help when comparing what green loan products are available that might really fit your needs, and offer the best value.

A legal fee loan isn’t right for everyone or every situation. Legal fee loans are ideal for those in situations where a clear settlement outcome is expected. In cases where there’s no clear expected outcome, or where clients are simply hoping for a positive outcome, a legal fee loan is generally not approved.

Legal fee loans cannot be used by people involved with disputes concerning only parenting matters. However, if you have a property settlement matter as well as a parenting matter, you may still be eligible.

There are a few general requirements you must meet in order to qualify:

  • You must be involved with a family law matter
  • There must be a property settlement component and a clear entitlement to some property division under the Family Law Act
  • You must be able to provide some form of security against the loan
  • You must be an Australian resident, with the majority of your assets in Australia

Keep in mind, Plenti is not an unsecured lender for family law loans. Our loans are usually secured against a house or property. In some instances, security may be difficult to obtain, as funds might be in a lawyer’s trust account, however, this is generally not an issue. In cases where there is no security available at all, a legal fee loan is unlikely to be approved. Plenti’s dedicated team will always work with your lawyer to explore all options that may be available.

When you borrow money as a legal fee loan, you’ve got flexibility in how you use the funds – but you can’t use them for just anything.

Accessing high-quality legal advice

If you don’t have income to cover the cost of your family law matter, or your money is tied up in a property settlement, a legal fee loan helps you cover the cost of getting the advice you need, when you need it. 

Existing legal debts 

Because marriage breakdowns can be complicated, you may already have legal debts to handle. Legal fee loans can be used to pay outstanding fees, as well as for future legal costs. 

Matters handled outside of court

There’s no need to head to a courtroom to access funds through a legal fee loan. If you’re hoping to avoid litigation, legal fee loans can also be used for non-confrontational alternative dispute resolution (ADR) like mediation, arbitration and pre-action procedures. 

Assorted fees 

A legal fee loan also isn't just for legal fees – it can be used to cover a variety of costs associated with the legal process. These can include third-party costs like valuers and accountants valuing the asset pool, complicated structures and asset protection schemes.

Limited personal reasons

You might also be able to access a small amount of the overall loan for personal reasons. What are legal fee loans used for in everyday life? You can use them to:

  • Improve your house prior to putting it on the market to increase the sale price
  • Repay family members who have loaned you money
  • Pay for advice on your new circumstances, such as from a financial planner
  • Pay off a high-cost debt, such as a credit card or tax bill
  • Tide you over while you’re waiting on a property settlement, helping you avoid interim applications and partial property orders

When you’re ready to apply for a legal loan, you’ll want to gather all required documents and information before you begin.  

If you’re applying for a Plenti Legal Loan, you’ll need to be working with a Plenti-accredited lawyer. If you are working with a lawyer who isn’t accredited with us yet, you’ll need to ensure they get in touch with us to do so before we can approve your loan

Once you’ve confirmed your lawyer’s accreditation, you should review the eligibility criteria to ensure you qualify. To review, when borrowing with Plenti, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must be involved with a family law matter
  • There must be a property settlement component and a clear entitlement to some property division under the Family Law Act
  • You must be able to provide some form of security against the loan (this is usually via caveat over real property – whether on title or not – but we may consider other forms of security)
  • You must be an Australian resident, with the majority of your assets in Australia

In addition, before a legal loan is approved, the matter should have progressed to a point where the main issues in dispute are known and the pool is well established.  Regardless of the size of the loan, it is also important to be able to demonstrate how the loan will be repaid at settlement - i.e. by cash received, selling assets or by a refinance. 

When you apply, you’ll need the following documents to get started: 

  • A balance sheet outlining both side’s view of the pool (where available)
  • Current mortgage statement for all properties (where available)
  • Title searches for all properties (where available)
  • Appraisals for all properties (where available)
  • Business valuations (where available)

When you’ve reviewed your eligibility and gathered the required documents, you can apply online using our convenient application portal.