You may believe you don't need (or want!) a lawyer unless you're involved in a lawsuit. Actually, attorneys can help with more than just lawsuits. There are many instances in which spending a few minutes with an attorney can go a long way. Here are some examples:
1. Helping Making Decisions
There's a perception that consulting a lawyer is prohibitively expensive and that you should avoid doing so at all costs. In fact, services from many attorneys are quite affordable. Spending a small amount with a lawyer can help you avoid making costly mistakes in your business or personal life that will take not only money, but time, to solve.
Having an attorney review a contract or agreement—or even take a few minutes to review your options when it comes to making a business or family decision—can limit mistakes, give you new things to consider, and help you make wise choices.
2. Defusing Problems
One of the great things about having a lawyer is that if you do get into a situation where someone threatens to sue you, refuses to comply with a contract, or if your ex won't follow your custody or child support order, a quick (and inexpensive) call from your lawyer to the other person's lawyer can sometimes resolve the situation.
For a very small amount of money, your attorney may also be able to write a letter on your behalf to resolve a problem that will keep you out of court. You may avoid protracted legal proceedings and save a lot of money.
3. Understanding Your Rights and Options
The law is deeply complex and, while you might have a good idea of what your options are when it comes to child support, wills, health care directives, or contracts, an experienced lawyer can help you fully navigate the issues.
Often that knowledge can be used to your advantage so that you can save money, get more money, have your wishes upheld, or ask for things you didn't even know you had a right to seek. The more informed you are, the better able you are to stand up for yourself.
4. Facing Down Another Lawyer
If you're involved in any situation (contract dispute, home purchase, car accident, etc.) in which the other side has a lawyer, you are at a distinct disadvantage if you don't have one of your own. If you're representing yourself, it's possible that the other attorney will try to intimidate you, make you believe things that aren't true, and be less willing to compromise. When you have your own attorney, the playing field is even.
5. Avoiding Errors
While there are a lot of legal forms you can complete yourself—including wills, health care directives, powers of attorney, trusts, and divorce petitions—the truth is you really should have a lawyer review any legal document you prepare.
A small error, tiny misspelling, or even forgetting to sign something in the right place can render the entire thing legally invalid. If you're going to the trouble of preparing a document like this, you absolutely want to be sure it is done right and that you get the legal protections you need.
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