Call Your Attorney: 9 Situations to Consider
Confusion, trust, and money. These are the top three reasons why most plaintiffs and defendants pursue self-representation rather than consulting an attorney when handling legal matters. With a legal plan, such concerns are mitigated by vetted attorney networks and fully-covered services. For others, the obstacles of contacting and building a relationship with an attorney may seem a bit harder to navigate. The benefits of hiring an attorney, however, almost always outweigh these concerns. Attorneys are well-versed in national and local legislation, are seasoned in courtroom appearances, and remain level-headed in emotional cases pertaining to adoption, separation, car accidents, and more.
Consider the following situations to better understand why you should call an attorney:
1. You’re signing a contract.
While you can read the fine print on your own, having an attorney comb through contracts with you may expose minor details that would otherwise go unnoticed. Knowing your rights and expectations is especially important when signing contracts related to real estate, health matters, home repair, a new job, or large purchases. You’ll have the legal knowledge to fallback on should something go awry during your contractual period. Attorneys can also help define complicated legal jargon.
2. You want to create or update your estate plan.
Drafting an estate plan without legal guidance is possible, but not advisable. Estate plans are highly comprehensive, and the larger the estate, the more likely you are to encounter complex tax issues or the need for a complicated distribution plan. An attorney can make the creation process substantially smoother and easier to understand. They can also help with notarization and execution of your plan.
3. You lose a loved one.
Navigating grief is trying enough, so let an attorney bear the burden of managing your loved one’s end-of-life plans. An attorney can help distribute assets listed in a will, translate an estate plan, help an executor fulfill their obligations, or navigate the difficulties of probate.
4. You suffer an injury from a car accident.
Car accidents are traumatic. Amidst the shuffle of sharing insurance information, identifications, and filing a police report, injuries may go temporarily unnoticed. If you suffer an injury, physical, emotional, or otherwise, an attorney can offer you recourse on obtaining covered medical costs and other forms of monetary compensation.
Other injuries requiring attorney involvement are often related to accidents caused by faulty equipment, injuries at another’s home, and more.
5. You simply don’t understand the legal issue at hand.
Confused by a legal dispute? You aren’t alone. Attorneys are the ideal resource for making sense of any legal matter you encounter – a consumer relations pursuit, traffic violation, identity theft, and more.
6. You are filing for divorce or separation.
Legal representation is necessary in both uncontested and complex or less agreeable separations. A divorce attorney not only helps determine which party receives which assets, but can help draft a concise separation agreement for couples with children. Hiring an attorney also guarantees you an advisor as well as a mediator during divorce discussions.
7. You have to file for bankruptcy.
Just as you can draft your own estate plan, you can also file for bankruptcy “pro se” (or without an attorney), but again, self-representation is not advisable in high-stakes situations, especially financial. Seeking legal counsel will first help determine whether filing for bankruptcy is necessary. If so, your attorney can help negotiate a reduced or eliminated debt and help advise in your fight against debt collectors.
8. You act in a way that warrants criminal behavior.
Driving under the influence, tax fraud, and other criminal-like actions can land you in deep water in a courtroom. Hire an attorney to discuss your options for appearing in court, lessening the charge, and more.
9. You have a legal plan.
You’re paying for legal insurance, so why not use it? Begin by contacting your Plan Attorney to establish friendly rapport. Your attorney may open your eyes to legal issues you hadn’t recognized, or can help you obtain necessary directives and documents before an issue arises.