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Top Reasons Why a Family Might Need to Seek Legal Advice

When it comes to seeking legal advice for families, it’s best to seek representation as soon as possible in order to protect yourself and your family. In this article, we’re looking at the different reasons for families to seek legal advice and how to handle them.

Reasons Why a Family May Seek Legal Advice

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Jennifer Lopez once sang that ‘love don’t cost a thing’, however, if you don’t take measures to protect yourself and your assets, this may not be the case. While you don’t need legal representation in order to get married, an increasing number of couples choose to draw up a prenuptial agreement before the big day.

These agreements are a legal contract which lays out how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce – and under what circumstances. In order for your prenup to be legally binding, you will need to hire the services of a solicitor or legal professional to help you with the set up.

Divorce

In the unhappy event that a marriage breaks down, a couple may choose to gain a divorce – an official process which ends the marriage. To do this, the couple will sometimes need to seek legal representation, either together or individually.

The average divorce will take between four and six months. However, it can take considerably longer if the divorce is a complex one that involves high value assets or the couple can’t agree to ending terms.

Related reading: Strategies for Maintaining a Strong Family Bond During a Divorce

Child custody issues

When a relationship breaks down, it’s almost always better for the couple to try to find an amicable resolution to child custody issues. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, meaning that the couple are unable to come to an agreement as to where the children should live.

In this instance, the parents will need to get in touch with a family law solicitor who may first offer mediation services before escalating the case to legal proceedings. A lawyer can help clients make fair custody schedule arrangements that work for both parents.

Related reading: Tips On Parenting After A Divorce

Buying property

If you are buying or selling a property in the UK, you will need the services of a special type of solicitor known as a conveyancing solicitor. Your conveyancing solicitor will handle all aspects of the buying or selling of property and, in most cases, if you are doing both, it’s best to use the same conveyancing solicitor for both transactions.

A conveyancing solicitor will cost between £500 and £1150 depending on your circumstances.

A relative dying intestate

When a person dies without having made a will or inheritance plan, this is known as dying intestate. Passing away without making intentions known in respect to assets may result in a lengthy probate process.

This can sometimes mean that family members will need to seek legal advice in order to attempt to claim what they believe the deceased meant for them to inherit. This can be an extremely lengthy – and often expensive process which can greatly diminish the amount of inheritance that family members finally receive.

Power of attorney

When a person develops a condition such as dementia it can mean that they are no longer able to make decisions regarding their personal affairs, including their finances. In these circumstances, a person will usually appoint somebody as Power of Attorney meaning that this person is authorised to make decisions on their behalf.

Although you don’t actually need a solicitor to do this for you (forms are available online), many people choose to have a solicitor create this document for them to ensure that there are no errors.

How to Decide on a Solicitor

When looking for a family law solicitor, it’s always worth asking friends and family for recommendations as this can save a considerable amount of time. If this isn’t possible, create a shortlist of solicitors in your local area and pay close attention to customer reviews before making a choice. 

Before contacting a solicitor, it’s helpful to lay out the facts in terms of your situation and the resolution that you’re hoping for. Emailing this to a solicitor before the first phone call can cut down on time – and therefore fees – as your solicitor is already up to speed by the time they pick up the phone.

It’s also a good idea to ask for an estimate of final costs before signing on the dotted line with a solicitor – a reputable firm will always provide this to you in writing on request. You should also insist on being notified should something come up, which may result in extra fees.

A Helping Hand

Lots of people find the idea of hiring a solicitor to be somewhat intimidating but, it’s important to remember that they are there to help. By being clear about the situation and the result that you’re hoping for you can help to manage your expectations and to make the process as quick and stress-free as possible.

Finding a solicitor you can trust to advocate for your you and your rights in tough emotional circumstances can help alleviate the stress involved in your life greatly. Make sure you prepare before speaking to any solicitor to streamline your conversations, as this will save time and money. 

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