By Jim Hart
Most people hate lawyers. Trust me – sometimes I hate us too and I am one. Unfortunately, there are some life events that pretty much require you calling one, and if you don’t, the consequences can be disastrous.
Here is my top ten list of times in your life when you absolutely, positively, would be stupid to not call a lawyer:
- You are starting a business. So many decisions, so little time… contracts, buy-sell agreements, choice of legal entity. Don’t go it alone – getting a lawyer on your side now may make things a lot easier for you later.
- You have been asked to sign a contract. Whoever drafted the contract wants to take advantage of you. Don’t let them – call a lawyer.
- You want to buy or sell real estate. It is amazing to me how many legal minefields are involved in a real estate transaction.
- You are thinking about retirement. You probably need the legal and tax planning that an attorney can help you with.
- You have been contacted by the IRS. Do I really need to explain why you might need an attorney in this situation?
- You are thinking about filing bankruptcy. If bankruptcy is on your radar, it would be a smart move to meet with an attorney now to go over some pre-bankruptcy planning.
- You are in a serious traffic accident or injured at work. I do a lot of this work and am amazed at how people think they can get by without an attorney. An attorney on a contingent case is essentially free legal help. Take advantage of them.
- You are thinking about Divorce. Unless your case is uncontested (and even then you need an attorney to draft an agreement), call an attorney and at least have a consultation so that you understand your rights.
- You have kids, but you don’t have a will. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Who is going to take care of your kids? Anyone who is married, has children, or has any substantial assets should go hire an estate planning attorney immediately. You will sleep much better at night as a result.
And the number one reason to call an attorney (and if you don’t you are just stupid)…
You’ve been arrested or are otherwise facing criminal prosecution. Don’t say anything to anyone until you have talked to an attorney. Your financial well-being and personal freedoms are at stake.