Estate planning trusts, living wills, power of attorneys; whatever you are dealing with, chances are, you could benefit from some sound legal advice regarding all of the above issues. However, most legal advice is not free and it’s risky to spend a lot of money before you know how much you are going to be getting from the will or estate planning trusts. So, how do you procure the help of an attorney without breaking the bank? Here are a few ideas to help you.
Use a Law Student
You could visit a law school and find a student who is practicing and discuss the situation with them. Students are allow to practice law if they are under a staff member that is a practicing lawyer themselves. Students often will offer cheap or even free advice in order to get experience. The great thing about talking to a student is that they will probably be a lot more passionate than experienced lawyers and will most likely look up any information that they are unsure of in order to be 100 percent positive that they are giving out correct information.
Look Online for Referrals
There are websites that will give you lists of attorneys that you can call for legal advice. You can use the names from these lists to look them up and read reviews about the lawyer and see if they are any good. You can also look up their rates and find out how much they charge. Then, compare the review to the rate and find the best but cheapest attorney that you can. You want to choose wisely, don’t just go for the very cheapest, because you don’t want to end up getting incorrect information that could hurt your cause.
Find Out About Free Services
Many law firms will offer pro bono or free consultations. To find out if you qualify, talk to a law firm about your income and see if it fits the requirements for free legal services. In fact, nearly all lawyers will at least offer a free legal consultation so that you can find out more information and decide whether or not you can afford to continue working with that particular lawyer or law firm.
Ask About Contingency Fees
This is when you only have to pay the lawyer if they win your case. If you only need legal advice, then this is not the way to go. For example, if you just have questions regarding estate planning trusts but aren’t arguing with another party about it, then you don’t have a case so there is nothing to win. However, if there’s another family member for example, disputing the estate planning trusts, you may end up having to go to trial so contingency fees might work for you then. Typically you end up using 30-40 percent of your payout to pay the lawyer. Be sure to ask also about filing fees, service fees and any other types of hidden fees. If you don’t win the case, you probably will only owe the service and filing fees.
What Not to Do
- Googling: Using search engines are good for general research, but you can’t believe everything you read or watch on the Internet. There’s no guarantee that the legal advice that you need is correct just because you read it on some random blog.
- Asking friends and family: Friends and family love to share opinions but unless they are a lawyer, they do not understand legal issues any better than you.
- Asking your lawyer friend: Maybe if you are extremely good friends, but if you just happened to remember that Sally Whatsherface from high school ended up going to law school, don’t track her down and ask for free advice. If Sally is a lawyer, this is her job and she can’t bend the rules because you knew each other once upon a time.
Whatever the case may be, there is a way to find help. There is bound to be someone who is willing to help you understand what it is that you are going through and the steps you need to take. You just have to do the research to find that lawyer.