Bills are a part of life you can’t escape once you are independent. You’ll have monthly utility bills, rent or your mortgage, and the cost of living. You can’t forget legal fees. You can’t plan ahead for those moments in life when you have to work with a lawyer. It may be when you are buying a house, drawing up your will, or settling an estate for a family member. The number of your bills can take you by surprise. Find out how to save money on legal expenses.
Explore Do-It-Yourself Options
If you are taking care of something basic, you may be able to take care of your own legal documents. Various sites are available online to provide you with business documents, real estate documents, estate documents, and documents related to family law. You will need to check with your own state’s requirements to ensure your forms are compliant. You can bring your forms to a notary once they are completed. Your other option is to fill out your own forms and ask a lawyer to review them to make sure everything is good to go. Doing some of the legwork can save you a considerable amount of money.
You don’t need to accept the first lawyer that you find. Do your homework, browsing through listings online. You can also talk to friends, family, and people at work to get recommendations. Contact your top picks and ask about the costs of the law firm’s services. Choose the attorney who offers you a fair price. You can also discuss the possibility of not combining fees for bundled services. Most lawyers ask for one fee upfront that covers comprehensive services. You may not need all of those services for your legal matter.
Ask About a Payment Plan
Your heart may really start pounding when you find out what your final bill could be at your initial consultation. This is the point when the bargaining process can begin. Discuss all of your options, including a payment plan that breaks up your fees into something you can handle. You might need six months to a year to take care of your bill. Another option is to take out a personal loan, allowing you to pay legal expenses upfront. You’ll still have a bill to take care of in a time frame that you can afford, bumping it out to three years when necessary. If you opt for a loan, make sure you choose an interest rate that is reasonable.
Get the Right Lawyer for the Job
Many attorneys focus on legal specialties. You can cut back on your costs if you choose a lawyer who only deals with your type of legal issue. You’ll be working with a firm that knows all the ins and outs about their area of concentration. This will save you time and money as they streamline every step of the process. Enlist the aid of North Carolina Criminal Defense attorneys, or attorneys in your area, if you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense to make sure the case is in good hands.
Keep Track of Every Meeting with Your Lawyer
Keep a log of your meetings with your attorney. Note the date, time, and any documentation that was addressed during your sessions. Be sure to list any phone conferences as well. You should also have a list of fees for your lawyer’s hourly rate and each task. When you receive your bill, it should be itemized. Go over your list and the bill to make sure everything matches up. If you see any unexpected fees or the total doesn’t add up, don’t be afraid to contact your lawyer. Request a meeting to go through the billing information together until you come up with a satisfactory total.
Be organized when you need to hire an attorney. Keep a folder with all of your essential information, from your original quote from the lawyer to every meeting that follows. If you have email or text communication with your attorney, save everything. You can also print out any electronic communication to add to your file. Request to make your own copies if it will cut costs. You can save money when you are proactive.