“You’ll need an attorney for this journey,” Tom Waits wrote in one of his songs.
But just when is it necessary to pull that trigger? People struggle with this question all the time, and even lawyers understand this can be a difficult decision to make.
“The United States has more lawyers per person than any other country,” points out an article on the website Seniors-Site.com. “So, if you need one, and many of us do at one time or another, you should be able to find one who will provide the best professional counsel at the fairest price.
“Some matters not involving substantial amounts of money or property may be handled without the aid of a lawyer. However, in deciding whether to use a lawyer, you need to make a judgment, based on your own experiences and those of knowledgeable friends or relatives.”
While the website is obviously geared to older Americans, the questions the article says people should ask themselves in concluding whether the journey requires an attorney are valid for everyone, regardless of age.
- Is the matter a complex legal issue or one that is likely to be taken to court?
- Is a large amount of money, property, or time involved?
- Does the matter require the filing of complex legal papers, such as complex wills?
- Is an estate being resolved involving significant amounts of money?
- Are there serious tax problems?
- Does the matter involve an accident that caused an injury or death?
- Is there a divorce being contested?
- Has significant damage been done to property?
- Are you planning on home equity conversion?