• Do I Need to Hire an Attorney

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

People often are looking for inexpensive options to handle legal procedures and ask us “do I need to hire an attorney?” Hiring an attorney is a personal decision, however in many circumstances, the answer is  no.  Yes, there are complex legal issues that need the advice and experience of a seasoned licensed attorney. Likewise, there are also many types of legal processes and procedures that simply do not need an attorney and can inexpensively and often more efficiently be handled by an experienced registered legal document assistant’s office such as A People’s Choice. Read on to learn about the need to hire an attorney in routine legal matters.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to File Divorce?

Divorce in California is very procedural. There are typically two situations in a California divorce, when the parties agree and when they don’t. There is much that can be tackled and addressed without having to hire an attorney, even in contested divorce proceedings. If a person can prepare  paperwork without having to hire an attorney, they will save money! Using a non-attorney to prepare paperwork in contested matters will cost far less than had that same paperwork been prepared by an attorney’s office. In many circumstances, an attorney can be hired to simply make a special appearance at a court hearing. A person going through divorce can maximize the value of their dollar by paying attorneys fees for only those special circumstances that may need attorney expertise. Many of our clients, however, don’t bother hiring an attorney to attend motion hearings and represent themselves at the hearing. Judges often make up their mind based on their review of the filed paperwork, before anyone actually speaks at the court hearing.

Divorces that are amicable can be easily completed without an attorney. If the parties agree, the legal document assistant can prepare all necessary paperwork, including the formalized divorce agreement. They can also file the paperwork with the court. There is no reason to hire an attorney to file divorce when the parties are agreeable. This article explains how to get a cheap divorce in California.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Create a Living Trust?

Technology has dramatically changed many things in our world, including in the legal field. Estate planning is one area that has benefited from computer technology and software. Most attorneys use legal estate planning software that is interview guided. Estate planning documents are automatically generated by the software program based on the answers entered through the interview process. A People’s Choices use the exact same software that hundreds of California attorneys use to prepare routine estate planning documentation.

If you know you want to have a simple living trust and other estate planning documents prepared and don’t need legal advice, using our services is a great way to save thousands of dollars as compared to hiring an attorney. The cost to prepare living trust and estate planning documents runs between $2500 to $5000. Compare that cost to our fee of $550 for a couple’s estate planning package which includes the same documents. Many people put off making their estate plans because of the high cost to do so. Now there is an alternative. Whether you need a complete estate plan with a revocable living trust, pour-over will, power of attorney and healthcare directive or just need a simple will, we can help. Most people don’t need to hire an attorney to create a living trust or other estate planning documents.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to file Probate?

Hiring an attorney to file a California probate can be an expensive proposition! Attorneys are allowed to charge statutory fees based on the value of an estate. Most probates are routine, with all the heirs or beneficiaries cooperating during the process. When probates are uncontested, an individual can easily get through the probate process with the help of an experienced legal document assistant. Although the probate process may seem daunting (a typical probate takes from 6-8 months), you don’t need to hire an attorney to file probate. This article goes into more detail how to file probate in California without an attorney.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to File Adoption?

There are several different types of adoptions in California, the most common being adult adoption and stepparent adoption. Both types of proceedings can be very straight forward and are not complex if you have professional help, but that assistance does not have to be an attorney’s. A People’s Choice has helped thousands of people successfully complete an adult adoption. We have also helped thousands of stepparents adopt their stepchild. Contact our office for more information about our low-cost adoption services.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Transfer Real Property?

A common legal need is to prepare a grant deed, quitclaim deed, interspousal deed or trust transfer deed. In the past, people contacted a title company to have a deed prepared. Unfortunately title companies no longer offer these service and we get numerous referrals by title companies to help people prepare real property transfer deeds.  As a courtesy, we also help processing the deed with the proper County Recorder’s Office, making the process not only inexpensive, but easy for our clients. Bottom line is that with the right professional help you don’t need to hire an attorney to transfer real property by deed.

Do I need to Hire an Attorney to Change My Name?

Changing one’s name is a popular legal need these days. People are changing their name for many reasons. It is a multi-step process and does require a court hearing, but A People’s Choice has helped thousands of people change their name for a variety of interesting reasons.  The cost of hiring an attorney to change one’s name can be well over $1,000 and is an unnecessary expense for a very routine legal process. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about how we can help change your name or the name of your child. You really don’t need to hire an attorney to change your name.

When Do I Need to Hire an Attorney?

So when do you need to hire an attorney? Only you can decide but two key components when an attorney is advisable is 1) when the legal matter is complex and not routine and 2) when you need legal advice to get you through the process. There are many legal procedures that people can handle on their own without having to hire an attorney. Those discussed above a just a few of some common situations where you may not need to hire an attorney and can represent yourself. Some other types of proceedings that our office can handle include, incorporation, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, guardianship, conservatorships, unlawful detainer/eviction and much more. Call us at 800-747-2780 for further information about how we can help you get through your legal matter.

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About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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