Getting Started: When to Hire an Attorney
Situations in Which You Might Need a Lawyer
1. When you are presented with a contract
It is essential that you understand the terms of any contract you are asked to sign. No matter how simple or complex a contract may be, if you are signing something, you may want to have a lawyer review it. Lawyers often read things in contracts that are not obvious to a non-lawyer, and small words and phrases can have significant meaning and long-term effects.
2. When you accept a new job
When you accept a new job offer, your employer may want you to sign an agreement. When signing an employment contract, it is important to thoroughly understand what terms you are accepting. You may be presented with obligations that are unclear, or even with situations that prevent you from working in the future in your same profession for a period of time or in certain locations. Many employers today insert “restrictive covenants” into employee contracts that prevent employees from taking certain actions, even after their employment has ended. Having a lawyer review the terms you are agreeing to will help ensure that you understand what you are signing up for and the lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to obtain more favorable terms.
3. When you make a major purchase
When you purchase residential or commercial real estate, or even investments ranging from stock in a company to art work, you may want to hire a layer to review the relevant contracts, manage the transaction and help the closing process run smoothly. A real estate attorney will review all of the paperwork in advance of a closing on your behalf and advise you of any problems or omissions with the contract or the “title” to your property. Attorneys can also evaluate other investments for hidden traps or ways to tighten up the deal in your favor.
4. When you experience life altering situations
You may need a lawyer when you get married, divorced, suffer the death of a loved one, or have a child to ensure that all of your affairs are in order. Additionally, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer when establishing wills and trusts to save your family from disputes, unnecessary court exposure, and possibly estate taxes. Your will or trust can be modified throughout your life as circumstances change.