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When to Hire a Lawyer

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Finding yourself in a situation that may require a lawyer is something many face each day. A lawyer will protect your interests during a potentially life-altering event. A lawyer can be used for both civil and criminal cases. Why you need a lawyer can be as simple as wanting extra peace of mind that you have hired an expert to assist in your legal matter. Whether your incident is civil or criminal, mild or severe, it is imperative to identify the incident and plan ahead.

Civil Matters

Instances that occur between you and another individual or entity involving money, debt, or property are known as civil. There are many civil matters where it would be highly useful to hire a lawyer with the most common being a divorce and execution of a will.


While a divorce does not have to include lawyers, it is highly recommended that you hire a lawyer to navigate through the many terms, conditions, and agreements that come from a divorce decree. Divorce may include property ownership, custody of minors, healthcare, and spousal or child support. These aspects of life are significant.

couple divorce

Without proper negotiation through a lawyer, you could easily lose property, money, and time with your children. If your divorce includes assets, children, or other financial arrangements, you should hire a lawyer to sift through those fine details of the divorce.

Executor of Will or Estate

A will is also referred to as a person’s “last will and testament.” To put it simply, a will is a signed, witnessed document filed to the probate court that will fulfill your final wishes after your death. Preparing a will before your death will provide assurance that any property, money, or arrangements you request will be carried out.

last will

Hiring a lawyer to ensure you have covered all the bases is recommended over attempting to write a will by yourself; especially if your will includes valuable assets, tax obligations, or property ownership.

If you have been named the executor of a will, you are legally responsible for ensuring the will of the deceased is fulfilled. A will can include a large number of family members, assets, money, and financial obligations. To protect your interests as much as the testator’s, having a lawyer alongside you will guarantee that the conditions of the will are identified and fulfilled. A lawyer will scrutinize every detail of the will to make sure no detail is overlooked.

If you are planning your own living will, or you have been appointed the executor of a person’s estate, you should consider hiring a lawyer to help simplify the process.

Criminal Matters

Involvement in the commitment of a crime within a jurisdiction is known as committing a criminal offense. Some criminal offenses can carry a severe punishment. A lawyer who understands criminal law can negotiate the terms of the indictment to keep the punishment sentence as minimal as possible.

Additionally, if you are facing a charge or charges of a crime in which you are not guilty, you should hire a lawyer to represent you. Whether you are pleading your guilt or you need help with negotiating potential jail time, you will need to hire a lawyer.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

There are times when you should hire a lawyer and times when you should not.

jail corridor

Hire a Lawyer

  • Complex Divorce – You should hire a lawyer to assist you with a divorce that includes minors, assets, and property distribution.
  • Executing Detailed Will – If you are preparing a will that includes a large amount of money, property, assets, or other financial obligations, you should hire a lawyer to help you prepare your will.
  • Executor of Will or Estate – Being legally responsible for an individual’s will can warrant the use of a lawyer if the will is complex. Like the above, if the will includes finances, property, and money, it would be beneficial to hire a lawyer.
  • You are being Sued – If you find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit where your opponent has a lawyer, you should hire a lawyer as well.
  • Jail Time – Criminal charges can sometimes result in jail time. If you face a criminal charge where jail time is possible, hire a lawyer to help minimize or avoid jail time.

Do Not Hire a Lawyer

There are a few instances where it would not benefit you to hire a lawyer.

traffic signal
  • Minor Traffic Violations – Typically, traffic violations can be resolved without the need of a lawyer.
  • Straightforward Divorce – Reaching an agreement with your spouse regarding the distribution of property and custody of a child, if applicable, can take place without a lawyer.
  • Preparing Simple Will – If you are executing a relatively simple will with few components, you can prepare the will without the assistance of a lawyer.
  • Executor of Simple Will or Estate – Similar to the above, if you are the executor of a testator’s will or estate that is straightforward with no complexity, you can administer the will without the need of a lawyer.

How to Find a Lawyer

Knowing when to hire a lawyer is the first step of what to do when you are facing a civil or criminal matter. Now you need to find a lawyer. You first need to identify the area of law in which your matter is taking place and find a lawyer who practices in that area.

The most convenient way to find a lawyer is by searching online for local lawyers who practice in the civil or criminal area you need. Research the lawyers you find to determine the best fit for your matter. Personal references always carry more weight than online reviews; however, not everyone in your personal life may have used the lawyer you find.

If no personal reference or online reviews are available, request to schedule a consultation with the lawyer you find. A lawyer may offer a free or affordable consultation to review your case. This is a great opportunity to see if the lawyer would be a good fit for your case. If you are unsure if your legal matter will require full representation, you can ask your lawyer for legal advice by the hour.

If you have more legal questions, you can also chat online with a Laws101.com attorney where you’ll be instantly connected to a lawyer who can give you legal guidance on your specific case or question.

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