You may think you have a simple situation on your hands, and that you don’t need an attorney to handle it; however, you may be wrong. Here are three situations where you should hire a lawyer to protect your interests, your money, or your property.
Making a Will and Trust
End-of-life planning is more complicated than you might think. It’s more than just making a list of who gets what; a properly-prepared and regularly-updated will and trust will help avoid family spats after you’re gone, as well as ensure that your money and your property are distributed the way you want. An estates and trusts lawyer can also help you understand tax implications for how you handle your money now and how it will be handled after you depart.
It’s especially important to consult a lawyer if you anticipate having a large estate, or if you have heirs with special needs who will need government benefits in the future.
You may think that your divorce will be uncomplicated, and that you and your spouse will agree about how to divide property or who will get custody of your kids. But there are different rules in different states about how property, debt, child support, and spousal support are established. Not having a lawyer to represent you could result in you getting less than you are entitled to in the divorce.
Hiring a divorce lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean the process has to be bitter or fraught with conflict; it just gives you the benefit of a disinterested, expert, third-party perspective on all the possible outcomes and the your options.
If someone files a lawsuit against you, that’s not a time to go at it alone. Even if it is a simple dispute, a lawyer will know about court rules procedures, as well as deadlines that you may not understand. The only exception would be a dispute that’s handled in a small claims court involving less than a state-law-established amount of money. A small claims court judge expects each party to tell their side of the story, and to resolve the issue quickly without excessive legal dispute.
But a major dispute, such as one over liability for an injury, ownership of valuable property, or accusations of discrimination requires the assistance of an experienced attorney who specializes in the that particular kind of case.
There are many other situations where you should hire a lawyer, including criminal matters, DUI charges, workplace discrimination, complicated contracts, or a home purchase. If you feel like you’re in over your head, you probably are, and hiring a lawyer will save you money and stress in the long run.