Attorneys

These days, people seem to need an attorney for any and everything. Whether it be buying property, divorce, civil lawsuits, criminal defense, even buying a horse. Attorneys are available for every need and can be found to fit any budget.
Many people find that choosing an attorney can be a painful process. There are so many things to consider including experience, price, and availability. One of the biggest problems for people is that they cannot find an attorney suited for exactly what they need and end up severely disappointed.

There is no shortage of attorneys anywhere. Shop around, ask questions, and research the right kind of attorney for you. Choosing the right attorney makes a huge difference in the outcome of your issue. If you need an attorney to defend you in court, make sure he or she has been trained in criminal law and also make sure they have dealt with a situation similar to your own. Some attorneys specialize in felony cases, others in misdemeanors. If your attorney has previously been through the process that you will soon go through, it will be much easier. Your attorney can coach you and guide you if you are confused or indecisive. Other attorneys do not deal in lawsuits or crimes, they are specifically trained to aid in the creation of contracts. Any time you buy or sell something, you usually have to sign a contract agreeing to certain terms, these attorneys helped the seller or buyer come up with these terms and write them out officially. There are attorneys who specialize in different areas of business such as restaurants, appliances, or pets. Their job is to create a contract, or terms of sales agreement, in which their client will not be liable should any malfunction occur. Not only do these attorneys create the contracts, but they can also help you understand them before you sign them. Unfortunately, the numbers of divorces are rising and thus the number of divorce attorneys is rising with them. These attorneys are trained to aid in the process of divorce and in the process of distributing the couple’s assets. They work with you and the other attorney to come to an agreement between the couple or in court, should it lead there. They can analyze the marriage and suggest an appropriate compromise.

In any situation, attorneys can be expensive. Some offer their services for free to those who qualify and others are very expensive. Their rates, however, do not decide their availability. Expensive attorneys and cheap attorneys are very busy and, no matter what their cost, may not be available when you need them while other attorneys may have very open schedules.

People’s needs for an attorney may vary and the attorney market reflects these needs. Do your research, ask friends for recommendations, and ask questions before you decide. You need to be comfortable with your attorney and confident in his or her abilities because they are not working alone, they are working with you.

Excuses People Use to Avoid Making a Lasting Power of Attorney and Why They Are Wrong

Setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a must in today’s society. But despite this, many people do not have anything in place should the worst happen and they need someone to step in and manage their finances and well being for them.

A Power of Attorney is a document that allows someone you nominate to step in and manage your finances should you not be mentally capable of doing so.

Losing our capacity is not something any of us like to consider a possibility, however it is something that can happen to anyone and we should all be prepared. A few cost effective actions now can save a great deal of time, expense and emotional upset at a later date. As if you lose your capacity without having a LPA in place then your next of kin will have to go down the route of obtaining a guardianship which is a long and very expensive process.

Again, despite this being basic fact many people still make excuses not to put a Power of Attorney in place.

Some of the excuses that I have heard include:

I’m to young to need a Lasting Power of Attorney, those are for old people.

No, they are not, you’re never to young to need a LPA. When people think of losing capacity most of us think of elderly people with dementia, however losing capacity is not something that just happens to the elderly, and there are other ways besides dementia to lose our capacity. There are many ways to lose your mental capacity, an illness, a road traffic accident, a medical accident/negligence, or an assault are just some of the unfortunate events that can lead to a loss of capacity and these can happen at any age.

Lasting Powers of attorney give to much power to other people

No, attorneys cannot do whatever they like. You nominate your attorneys and hopefully that means you would nominate someone you would trust, and if you fall out or have a mishap in the meantime you can amend your Power of Attorney anytime before it is registered. You can also set limits on what your attorneys can and cannot do in the document. If you don’t want them to be able to sell your home for instance then you can stipulate that. As well as you having control of what the attorneys can and cannot do via the document you sign, the attorneys are also bound by laws to always act in your best interest and there are repercussions if they fail to do this.

If I make a Lasting Power of Attorney I have to register it right now, I’ll wait until it is needed.

No, it is entirely possible to write and sign a LPA but keep hold of it until you want to use it. This is because in order for a LPA to be used it must be registered, until it is registered it is just a piece of paper. So, you can make one when you are in your 30’s and not register it until you need it in your 70’s. Waiting until the LPA is needed is very dangerous, as you cannot make a power of attorney when you have lost capacity

In order to make a power of attorney the person making it must have capacity. They must be able to understand and agree to and what they are signing.

A Lasting Power of Attorney doesn’t last forever so what’s the point

There are different types of power of attorney, LPA are permanent, but an Ordinary power of attorney is not. An ordinary Power of Attorney is a document that you can set up to allow someone to look after your affairs while you are not able to, if for example you are out of the country, or unable to leave the house, or are in hospital for a while. This document gives someone else authority to act on your behalf. It is only valid while you still have mental capacity to make your own decisions about your finances. You can limit the power you give to your attorney so that they can only deal with certain assets, for example, your bank account but not your home.

I can only have one attorney and I don’t want to choose, it will cause fights in the family

No, you can have more than one attorney. The role of attorney is difficult at times and there is a lot of responsibility. So you can spread that about by having more than one attorney. This is called a joint attorney. You can appoint any number of attorneys in the same lasting power and you can specify if they can act on their own separately or if they must act jointly and come together. You can have them act jointly on some issues such as sale of property but have them act singly on all other issues there is a lot of flexibility and it is entirely up to you.

It’s too expensive to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney

It might have been expensive at one point in the past but these days it really isn’t. you can hire a solicitor to do this for you at a fixed fee, usually a couple of hundred pounds. Or you can have a go at it yourself using the government website which guides you through the process by asking you basic questions and completing the form on your behalf. It then provides you with instructions on how to sign the document to make it compliant with the regulations.

As you will have noticed the excuses people have for avoiding a LPA are simply untrue. The majority of people do not have a LPA waiting in the wings simply because it is one of those jobs that is often put aside for later, dismissed as unnecessary or considered too expensive.

You should now have a much clearer understanding of why a Lasting Power of Attorney is essential.

Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney – 7 Things to Know Before You Do

The Top 7 Things to Know Before You Hire a Wills, Trusts or Estate Attorney

You should consider several different questions before you sign an agreement with any attorney, but this is even more important when it comes to hiring a wills, trusts or estate attorney. This attorney will address sensitive family and financial issues that range from helping you pass assets on to your children and close family members, to protecting you from unnecessary taxes, to helping you determine the best person to make medical decisions on your behalf. This is why you need to know the answers to the seven questions discussed in this special report.

#1: Does the attorney offer a free consultation and will he explain what will happen at this initial meeting?

An attorney should offer you a free, no hassle consultation. First, meeting him or her will help to put you at ease and will give you a chance to discuss your case in a frank manner. You will also have a chance to ask questions and to determine if this is an attorney whom you can trust to address your legal concerns. Second, it gives the attorney the opportunity to ask you questions and to learn more about your case. You might discover that you do not get along very well with this attorney. Conversely, the attorney may realize that your case is not the type that he wants to take or is not related to his field of expertise. For this type of relationship to work in an effective and productive manner, both you and your attorney need to be able to work together comfortably.

#2 Does the attorney offer a flat fee for the services that he will perform and will this be put in writing?

Every attorney should use a written agreement, which is known as a retainer agreement. In this agreement, the attorney should clearly state the fee that you will be charged and honor this agreement. The attorney should clearly explain the fee, the services that he will perform, and should also clearly explain the options that are available to you to pay this fee. You should not sign this agreement until you understand how much you will be charged, what the attorney will do for you, what information he will need from you, any deadlines involved, and any other obligations that you are required to perform. You should always feel free to ask the attorney questions if you do not understand something in the agreement or otherwise. You should also ask about the expected completion of the work.

A flat fee encourages the attorney to work in an efficient manner and also prevents you from receiving an unexpectedly large bill upon the completion of the services. This can happen if it takes the attorney longer to complete the work than he initially thought.

#3 Does the attorney guarantee his service? Will he refund your money if you are not completely satisfied?

Your attorney works for you and is being paid to help you plan your estate. You should not tolerate an attorney that will not refund your money if you are not completely satisfied with the work. Additionally, your attorney should be willing to revise your documents that he is initially drafting. However, after he has drafted them and you have expressed your satisfaction, you should not expect the attorney to revise these documents unless you have kept the attorney on retainer. Please note that no attorney will guarantee results if your matter is being litigated in court.

#4 Will the attorney help you make wise choices about insurance, saving for your children’s college, and retirement planning?

Your attorney should help you make decisions about the most appropriate documents and vehicles to accomplish your estate planning objectives, but should also assist you with buying insurance, saving for college, planning for retirement, and all of the other challenging decisions that will arise. In fact, your attorney should have a team of trusted advisors in place in order to help you make the best possible decisions.

If your attorney is unable or unwilling to advise you on these matters, then you should seek out an attorney who will do so. Having such an attorney will prevent you from making expensive and unnecessary mistakes, and will save you time in having to hunt for additional advisors.

#5 Does your attorney have a process in place to respond to your phone calls and emails quickly in case questions arise? Will your attorney keep you informed about how your matter is progressing?

Your attorney should be able to answer your phone calls, emails, and questions quickly. You are paying this attorney for service and for professional guidance and attention, not just for the drafting of your estate planning documents. How often have you heard from friends and loved ones about an attorney that takes days, weeks or more to respond to phone calls? Do not tolerate such unprofessional behavior. Ask your attorney about this and if he is unable to convince you that he has such a process in place, then continue your search for an attorney that will get back to you in a time efficient manner.

#6 Does your attorney have a process for helping you capture and pass on not only your physical and financial wealth, but also your intellectual and spiritual assets, as well as what is important to you?

Some attorneys recognize that wealth is not measured solely by your net worth, by the value of your brokerage and retirement accounts, but is also measured by who you are as a person. Your intangible assets, such as lessons that you have learned over a lifetime of building wealth, or the wisdom you have accumulated through your life experiences that you would like your children to know more about, are very valuable, almost priceless. These should not be forgotten.

When deciding whether to hire an attorney, be sure to select someone who will help you capture, document, and pass on all of your assets, including those intangible ones that are often overlooked.

#7 Will your attorney make sure that your assets are structured and owned in the right way?

You could hire an attorney at the largest firm around and pay him an exorbitant fee, but if your assets are not titled and owned in the right manner, then the plan that he created will not work for you. The attorney that you plan to hire should be willing to ensure not only that your documents are drafted correctly, but also that your assets are structured properly.

Do not be afraid to ask these questions before you hire an attorney to work with your family on legal planning matters. When you find an attorney that says yes to these questions, hire him or her quickly before the practice fills up and he or she stops taking on new clients. Asking these questions and hearing the right answers before you engage a lawyer to work on your wills, trusts, and estate will ensure you put in place legal planning for your family that will work when you need it.