Avoiding Legal Advice? Can you afford to?

Sometimes the Most Expensive Legal Fee is the One you Avoid

There is an old joke about three people sitting in a room.  A high fee lawyer, a low fee lawyer and Santa Clause.  There is a $100 bill on the table and the lights go out leaving everyone in complete darkness.  When the lights come back on the $100 bill is gone.  Who took the $100?  The answer is obvious – it was the high fee lawyer.  Why?  Both the low fee lawyer and Santa Clause are figments of your imagination. 

Many times people think that they just can’t afford to go to an attorney to get qualified legal advice.  They think it is just too expensive.  While good legal advice is not cheap, sometimes the most expensive decision you can make is the decision not to get legal advice when you should. 

Whether it is a business law issue, an estate planning issue or a real estate issue, the consequences of not getting legal advice can be phenomenally high.  If you are operating your business as a sole proprietor and you are the subject of a significant lawsuit, I am sure you would wish that you had taken the time to meet with an attorney to set up that corporation you always knew you should establish.   If your significant other dies without a basic will in place, in addition to trying to deal with your loved one’s death, you now may have a major estate headache. This is particularly true if you were not married to your significant other or there are step-children from a previous marriage. 

The bottom line is that if you think you are saving money by not going to a lawyer you could be terribly wrong.  Any amount that you may be “saving” in legal fees is likely to be dwarfed by the consequences of not seeking out good legal advice.   It is always more expensive to fix a problem than to prevent one and this is also true for legal matters.  For example, while the average estate plan costs between $900 to $5,000 (with trusts), the cost for a will dispute that results because you did not have an estate plan or had a bad estate plan can easily exceed $20,000.   

I always meet with prospective clients on a no-cost basis.  There is no reason to avoid an initial consultation.

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