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Do You Have a Lawyer?
Old 03-16-2014, 09:51 AM   #1
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Do You Have a Lawyer?

Not meant to be a survey, and don't expect a personal answer, but...
maybe better...
"Should I engage/contract with a lawyer?"

Am thinking in terms of probable needs, and peace of mind. We don't currently have a lawyer, but have used different legal services as necessary. Now, as life seems to get more complicated, am wondering if a "call anytime" lawyer might be worthwhile. Also, of course, wondering about expense.

The subject came up with a recent dispute about a hospital bill sent to us, with the statement that Medicare would not pay. It was the hospital's mistake, and finally corrected, but gave us a scare, since the bill was over $4K. Made us wonder what our neighbors (senior communiity) might do... Many older and less alert, but with enough money to pay, just to avoid confrontation or future problems with credit, or acceptance into the hospital or other facility.
We are fortunate to have a son and DIL who are lawyers, though in different disciplines... who would help us into the right direction, but wonder if it would be cost efficient to have our own lawyer, and not to have to bother them.

This very recent article in the Chicago Trib resurrected the question. If you have the time, worthwhile reading to understand how "stuff happens" and perhaps giving a clue to what your parents may be facing, in the case of younger folks here.

Medical bills keep coming after patient's death - Chicago Tribune

We're at a point where we expect to be "fleeced", and figure that we'd pay up to $500 or so, to avoid the stress of a legal battle, even with that caveat, still feel vulnerable.
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:27 AM   #2
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We don't have a call anytime lawyer. We have one that drew up our wills for us and our MIL. I asked her a real estate question and she said that wasn't her area of expertise. So I would tend to think you go to a different lawyer depending on the legal problem you are dealing with. However, if you have family or friends that can advise you as to when you need a lawyer than that would be nice.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:48 AM   #3
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On the very few occasions when I had reason to consult a lawyer, I just called the local bar association and asked for some names of those who specialized in that area of the law. Then I called a few and made a choice based on either the phone call or a brief interview.

Having a lawyer (or law firm) on retainer sounds like a good idea, but I think it might prove overly restrictive compared to my ad hoc experience.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:54 AM   #4
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We do not have a lawyer.... we look up one when we need one that specializes in the area we want...


As for your example... the same thing happened to my mother.... the hospital screwed up and did not get approval for some procedure... insurance refused to pay.... so WE refused to pay...

It does not seem to have affected her credit score since it is over 800... and it did not affect her ability to get into that hospital as she was admitted two or three years later....
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:59 AM   #5
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.....However, if you have family or friends that can advise you as to when you need a lawyer than that would be nice.
We are simple people who try to avoid legal entanglements. Therefore it was especially funny when Mother seriously wanted to have her nephew (a Philadelphia lawyer) sue Readers Digest. I guess they messed up her subscription billing. "Mom, you really don't want to do this..."

I have used lawyers for our wills and to close real estate transactions.

I am interested in learning more about finding and retaining lawyers from this thread.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:04 PM   #6
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In the past five years I have used legal services five times, for several quite different purposes. For a real estate transaction and a contract review I used the same local lawyer, but for the other issues I used different lawyers and different firms, first, because the required areas of expertise were quite specific, and second, because there might have been a conflict of interest for the local lawyer. If I have a general legal question in the future my first stop will be the local lawyer's office, because I was impressed with the service. However, this does not require that I have an ongoing retainer with them. That would be justifiable only if I needed a lot of ongoing legal advice.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:01 PM   #7
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Only had to use one lawyer in my life and that was my divorce. Fortunately for me that lawyer was my ex-wife's father. He didn't charge us anything. Always good to have an amicable divorce!


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Old 03-16-2014, 03:19 PM   #8
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Nope. I only use lawyers on an as needed basis...private sale of a couple of homes, private sale of a commercial property, sale of a professional practice, probate, drafting a will, POA, a guardianship hearing for a disabled cousin, etc.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:10 PM   #9
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.........However, this does not require that I have an ongoing retainer with them...........
I never give lawyers a retainer. If they can't trust me to pay them for their work, I don't need them. And if the fees turn out to be less than the retainer, you will never pry back a refund. IMHE
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:19 PM   #10
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On the rare occasions when we need a lawyer we just do as the others do and get one with expertise in that area. Our lives are not complicated enough to need one on call.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:31 PM   #11
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I have a local lawyer who has done work for me on and off over the years. Mostly real estate related matter though I have consulted him on some estate issues as well. By sheer coincidence the court assigned him to represent my great aunt in my petition to become her legal guardian a couple years ago.

Unfortunately, he is a bit retirement minded at this point and declined the last thing I had for him.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:34 PM   #12
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Why yes, yes I do. Nice guy. Let's me sleep with his wife . . . . . and wear his clothes.
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:37 PM   #13
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Let's me sleep with his wife . . . . . and wear his clothes.
Made me look twice - the first time by I read "...and wear her clothes."
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:21 PM   #14
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I have a personal attorney who has helped me with a variety of things over the years (primarily an estate/tax attorney). Also has helped me with some business venture formation documents. Have also used some other attorneys in his firm for other needs (pre-nups, greedy ex-wife issues, etc). I find it best to find one you can trust and use them sparingly as it isn't cheap. Going rate for me has been about $350/hr.

Now when I was working I had seven attorneys on staff. So I have somewhat weaned my self from the barristers!
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Old 03-16-2014, 06:59 PM   #15
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We had an ugly situation with a contractor and used a lawyer to try to resolve it - then to guide us through the arbitration matter. We've used him and his firm for a few other situations since. When we had elder care issues, he referred us to a different practice since it was out of his area of expertise.
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