The thought of hiring a lawyer can be daunting, and too often, we might not even know that we need an attorney. Here are five common situations you may find yourself in where you’ll probably want to hire one:
1. Purchasing a Home
For many Americans, buying a home will be the biggest and most important transaction of their lifetime. While real estate agents can help with negotiations and contracts, they often lack the nuanced understanding of real estate law that an attorney has. If you’re having trouble navigating confusing contracts, it might be beneficial to set up an initial consultation with an attorney who can review a contract or purchase agreement before it’s signed to ensure all requirements are met and nothing important or costly has been omitted.
2. Wills and Trusts
While there are key differences to be considered, both wills and living trusts enable owners to name beneficiaries for their property and can usually be revised. Taking a “do it yourself” approach and drafting these documents without the help of a lawyer can certainly save you some money up front, but the more assets and conditions you include, the more likely it is that you’ve missed something an estate attorney would have otherwise caught. In effect, wills and trusts are both legal documents, and any questions that arise during the process of drafting them should be taken to a lawyer to avoid costly mistakes.
Driving “under the influence” (DUI) or “driving while intoxicated” (DWI) is a crime in all 50 states. In 2016 alone, over one million Americans were arrested for driving under the influence, a charge that usually begins with a routine traffic stop and can end in vehicle impoundment, large fines, a suspended license or even jail time. While driving under the influence is a serious crime and threat to public safety, those convicted of a DUI are still entitled to representation. If charged with a DUI, an attorney can help guide you through the entire court process, advise you on how to plea, and even help convince a judge to reduce your penalties.
Approximatelyhalf of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. While some settlements are resolved quickly and end in good-nature, others can be long and vindictive or take a turn for the worst. With assets, property, and even children at stake, it is important to have a divorce attorney by your side to protect your rights to ensure any agreement you enter is in your own best interest. This is especially important if your spouse has already hired his or her own attorney.
5. Child Custody
While divorce and family lawyers can help you resolve your marriage, they might not be the best equipped to handle the placement and custody of your children. Whether its negotiating child support or visitation rights, a child custody lawyer can help you make sense of evidence and state custody laws. At the end of the day, it is the child’s best interest that matters, and hiring a good attorney can help ensure the best possible outcome in what is often a difficult and emotional situation.
Odds are that most of us will find ourselves in one of these situations at some point in our lives, and knowing when to enlist the help of a lawyer can help in avoiding costly or emotionally taxing situations. There are legal options available for people at every price point, and with enough research and planning, we can all afford the legal help we’re entitled to.