Monthly Archives: April 2015

Top Four Questions to Ask a Real Estate Attorney

When buying or selling single-family residences, most homeowners won’t need the help of a real estate attorney, but when large investment properties are on the line, or when more than one property is involved in the sale, professional Sanford real estate legal help can save you lots of legal headaches down the line.  But just because an attorney practices real estate law, doesn’t mean he or she is the best-qualified for your particular case.

Here are the top four questions to ask a real estate attorney:

Does your experience line up with my particular case?

To understand what you want out of an attorney, take the time to really understand your specific needs and desired outcomes for your situation.  Are you dealing with several different lower-value properties or one large high-value piece of real estate? Are you looking for a tax expert to help you with a specific problem?

What is your fee structure?

Nobody likes to talk money, but this is the time to have the discussion up front.  Get an understanding of not only how much they plan to charge, but the manner they plan to do it in.  Will a retainer be required? How much will need to be paid upfront?

Who is going to be working on my case?

Law offices are busy places and the attorney you have an initial meeting with might not be the person doing the leg work on your case, which isn’t usually a problem will you have access to speak with the attorney, or will you be referred to any number of paralegals, junior attorneys or administrative assistants? Understand upfront and save yourself any surprises or disappointments down the road.

How will you handle a case like mine?

You’re not asking for specific, drawn-up plans, but getting an idea that this attorney has worked with your specific circumstances is necessary to know before hiring, as well as assuring yourself that you’re comfortable with their plan of action and tactics when handling your case.

Why An Estate Planning Attorney Should Review Your Will Yearly

Just like our own health, our wills need annual checkups by qualified estate planning attorneys to guarantee that everything is still in working order and reflects the reality of your family’s situation.  Here are the top reasons to have an annual will check up with a Harnett County estate planning attorney:

Asset changes

Whether your finances experienced substantial gains or losses, yearly reviews will help keep your estate planning up to date and relevant to your family’s situation.  Other considerations include additional insurance policies, pensions or properties (bought and sold) need to be incorporated to the will’s directives.

Relationship changes

Welcoming new family members to the fold?  Your estate planning documents should always reflect where your family’s life is currently at and annual will reviews will take into consideration any marriages, divorces, births or deaths that might have occurred that would affect your will or make specific stipulations no longer relevant.

Changes in tax laws

It’s not an understatement to say that both state, federal and local tax laws are constantly changing.  Don’t let your estate get caught in any unseen complications that come along by reviewing your will each year against any updated codes, laws or stipulations.

Philanthropy

Maybe you’ve found a cause you’re passionate about and want to support even if something ever happened to you.  Estate planning attorneys can help you work your philanthropic goals into your will and verify your wishes with each annual review.

Moves and relocations

New places mean new tax laws and considerations to take into your estate plan.  If a move has taken place or is on the horizon, your annual will review is the time to bring it up with your estate planning attorney to make the new transition seamless.

Benefits of Hiring a Probate Attorney Right Away

When you find yourself fighting for property or inheritance in a probate situation, timing is everything.  Here are a few reasons that getting a Lee County probate attorney on your side as quickly as possible will help you in the end.

The number of players in probate cases can quickly become overwhelming

Probate litigation allows any and all parties who believe they have a claim to an estate to participate in the process.  Numbers can range from a few to hundreds, depending on the case.  If you’re charged with acting as the personal representative to an estate, you’ll need an experienced probate attorney to help wade through the legal waters.

Dealing with creditors and debtors is difficult

As a personal representative to a decedent’s estate, the task of dealing with claims from creditors and debt collectors will fall on to your shoulders.  A quality probate attorney can provide sound advice on how to proceed and even how to challenge the validity of a creditor’s claim if you have reason to believe it’s an invalid debt they’re trying to collect.

Alleviating tax concerns can be extremely beneficial

If you’re the recipient of a substantial inheritance, working with a probate attorney early in the process can save you legal and financial woes down the road.  Inheritance tax is a complicated specialty of probate attorneys and can be an investment that pays off huge dividends in the form of tax peace of mind.

The last thing family members need to concern themselves with after losing a loved one are complex legal issues centered on estates and inheritances.  Qualified probate attorneys can provide both peace of mind and legal security.

How to Vet a Family Law Attorney

Whether it is a trust, an adoption or a divorce chances are high that the time will come when you’re going to need assistance from a family law attorney in Lee County.

But where do you start?  How do you know you’re finding the best help for your situation?

Here are a few tips to help you make the best choice in attorneys for your particular situation:

Understand what you need

The first step in finding the right solution to your law needs is to understand your problem.  There are several online databases and forums to help you research your particular legal matter.  This won’t substitute actual quality counsel, but it will help you be more specific and more educated about your issue when speaking with potential attorneys.

Appreciate word-of-mouth references

Nothing beats first-hand client references when you’re searching for an attorney to help you.  Ask trusted friends and colleagues for names and references and pay particular attention to the good and the bad.

If you’re having a hard time finding people in your network who have experience with local attorneys, the next step is to create you short list of candidates from online and phone book searches.  Look for firms and practitioners with professional web sites and easy-to-find contact methods.

Search online peer and client reviews

While you won’t get all the answers you need, peer review sites and client reviews on popular review aggregate sites will give you valuable information on your list of candidates.  When sitting down to meet with potential attorneys, ask any questions that come to mind in light of your research and personal references.  This is your chance to get to know how an attorney operates and whether you’d be compatible as a team.