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When to Call a Lawyer


Life can be full of ups and downs…and sometimes, you need to call a lawyer to help you navigate those peaks and valleys. When should you pick up the phone and get some expert advice? Here are some examples of when we think you will want to hire an attorney:

  • If jail is a possibility. This really is a no-brainer. If you are looking at doing time, or even being convicted of a crime, then you need to call an attorney. The sooner, the better. Keep in mind that this may be the case for motor vehicle violations – including DUIs and Reckless Driving.
  • Someone is physically hurt. If someone has gotten hurt– then you should probably call an attorney. Whether you are the injured party – or the party who caused the injury – you will want representation. Let someone with experience work to make sure you get the protection you need. Car accidents are one of the most obvious causes of physical harm. But keep in mind that you may also need a lawyer if someone gets hurt on your property – or if your dog bites the neighbor.
  • Significant money is involved. If you are considering a possible business transaction or arrangement that involves a significant amount of money or resources, it is a good idea to have an attorney review your contract and terms. You will want to make sure you have adequate time to conduct your due diligence, reasonable requirements on both sides to achieve the end goal, and an exit strategy in case things do not go as planned. It is always better to have a good contract at the beginning of a deal than to end up arguing in court over which party is “right”.
  • Wedding bells are ringing. Prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular each year. Although some people consider these with the loss of romanticism, we encourage you to view this as a practical way to address your finances from the outset. Prenups are even more common when it is a second marriage for either party. It can help protect the financial assets for the children from the prior marriage. If you are already married but would like to investigate a post-nuptial agreement, there are certain scenarios in which this might be appropriate. An attorney can help you with an agreement that is mutually acceptable to both sides – and will be held up in court in the event of martial dissolution.
  • You are getting divorced. Hopefully, you have a prenup to address the financial issues that will need to be handled (see above). Regardless, you will need an attorney to draft the appropriate documents addressing the division of assets, child custody, child support and spousal support. Even if your divorce is uncontested, you will probably want representation – you will be glad to have someone helping you navigate this situation.
  • You need a will. The particulars of creating a valid will can be complex. An attorney can help you make sure you minimize the tax consequences to your heirs. In addition, an attorney can help you determine when to have a power of attorney, living will, or if a trust is right for you. It is very helpful to have an attorney help you draft a will that is best for you and your family – including a plan for any minor children who might survive you.
  • You need to probate an estate. If you are in charge of handling the estate of a deceased person, you will want to hire an attorney. If you handle it yourself and you miss anything – you will open yourself up to personal liability. Go ahead and hire an attorney at the outset. Probate court can be complex, and you will be glad to have someone else handle the details.
  • Buying/selling large parcel of land. When buying or selling a large tract of land, it is a good idea to have an attorney review your purchase agreement and help you obtain an appropriate title and survey review. You will want to make sure that there are no environmental concerns that might cost you money or keep you from building on the property.
  • Starting a business. There are several different types of business entities that you will want to consider – ranging from partnerships to limited liability companies. An attorney can help you properly structure your business to limit future headaches and financial blunders.

When in doubt, it is always a good idea to consult an attorney on the front end. Many people hesitate to call an attorney because they are concerned about the cost. Typically, the cost of attorney will be less than what you would spend if you end up in court contesting something that could have been determined at the beginning of the deal.

This blog is made available by Santel | Garner for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and a general overview of the law, not provide specific legal advice. By using this blog and website, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Santel | Garner . This blog and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.