Most people do not get excited at the prospect of hiring a lawyer. But the law is a complicated beast, and when it comes to legal issues, hiring a lawyer can often be a form of insurance. Incurring a small expense now can help prevent a major situation later. Here are five situations where seeking legal council could save you a lot of heartache.
Starting a Business
Applying for a business license is typically pretty easy, and many small business owners unfortunately believe that is all they really need to do to begin operations. Liability is a scary thing, and something can go wrong regardless of the industry you have just entered. A qualified attorney can examine the contracts you will be using, advise you on and help you apply for incorporation, and protect your own personal assets even if the worst happens to the business.
Changing your Family Situation
This applies for getting married, adopting a new child, or seeking a divorce. Suggesting to your partner that you talk to an attorney before tying the knot is not the most romantic prospect; but to be fair, managing finances, determining joint or separate ownership of assets, and other clinical complications are not romantic, either. Legal council can make the entire process smoother and avoid future problems. If the worst does arise, divorces are just as complicated – usually with much more bitterness attached – and having experienced representation is important for protecting yourself. Even happy couples could use a lawyer if they seek to adopt, as the legal issues tied to assuming responsibility for another human life are deep and varied.
Buying or Selling Real Estate
For most people, real estate is the most expensive thing they will ever buy or sell. While it is good advice to have a lawyer review any contract before signing it, this is especially important when the transaction governed by it is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Making sure the terms are fair and protect you sufficiently can save you a huge amount of money if something goes wrong.
Eventually you will want to make plans for your eventual passing, and not necessarily when you are already near the tail end of your life. Contacting a lawyer early when you are still healthy allows you to answer important questions about what you want done with your assets while you are not faced with imminent tragedy. Should you continue to live for many years afterward, the existing terms can be modified much more simply than creating them in the first place. Legal council can also aid you with setting up complicated financial instruments such as trusts.
When You are Sued
You may live your life with the grace and kindness of a saint, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and some people are always looking for an opportunity to exploit others. As the old proverb goes, “A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” The same goes in reverse; if someone has caused you injury due to negligence, a personal injury lawyer has the experience and background necessary to get you the compensation you are due.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of when you should seek out a legal consultation. As a rule of thumb, consider two questions: Are the issues I’m being faced with mired in complicated legal issues? And if things go wrong, how much do I stand to lose? Seeking legal consultation should never be considered an option of last resort. Your lawyer, by definition, exists to help you through these matters, and letting them do so can save you a tremendous amount of trouble.