We live in a nation of law. If every aspect of my life is governed by law, can I afford not to have a lawyer? Just as much as I need a trusted accountant for tax filing and a value congruent advisor for financial planning, I need an attorney, to be prepared for life. Just like I have a general physician for medical wellness reasons my lawyer is my trusted advisor in making sure my choices are prudent for leading a prosperous life. If you are wondering how this could even be relevant to your life, let me pause and present a real life situation I had witnessed.
One morning, I received an emergency call from the spouse of my employee requesting I send my employee home right away as there had been a family tragedy. I did not want to let me employee drive home under such circumstances; I drove her home and tried to be of assistance in dealing with the family tragedy. A young husband and wife had been gunned down while a 6-month old baby and a toddler were in the back seat of the family vehicle. The wealthy young parents died on the spot and every family member was fighting to take responsibility for the children in an effort to take control of the wealth left behind. Amidst the horrific tragedy, I learned my lesson number-1: DO NOT ever put my loved ones in a position to be pawns in a feud; be responsible and establish a will. Say what you may, but Michael Jackson’s children are caught amidst such a battle due to money as well …. It is irresponsible on the part of adults to not prepare a will and establish the rules of engagement to protect their children as well as loved ones.
1. Be a responsible parent and protect your children by establishing a Will to
- Appoint legal guardians
- Set up Trusts for children
- Determine inheritance
- Make final arrangements
2. There is a compelling financial reason to make a Will
- You can decide how your assets are shared out, else the law says who gets what
- Provide for your partner; unmarried partner will not inherit automatically
- If you're divorced or if your civil partnership has been dissolved decide if an ex-partner inherits
- You can make sure you don't pay more Inheritance Tax than necessary
3. There is a compelling medical reason to establish a Living Will
- Save your children and loved ones from the agony of having to decide what you would want
- Make your wishes known to make sure your life is always based on your choice
Every business owner also needs a trusted attorney to insure proper business incorporation, maintenance of a corporate book to separate the personal and business liabilities, establish effective contracts, and general risk mitigation.
A good attorney who has your best interest at heart will guide your navigation through all the personal legal scenarios as well as be able to refer you to a reliable business attorney if it is not their area of expertise. Selecting a lawyer could be daunting, but here are the top 10 tips to remember:
- Think bottom line
- Find a people person
- Find someone with good business connections
- Think of your business lawyer as your part-time VP legal
- Look for a deal maker not a deal breaker
- Look for someone open to a fixed fee arrangement
- Look for business experience
- Look for someone you would be happy to have a drink with
- Don't focus only on the billable hour rate; focus on value and total price
- Don't assume you need a big blue chip firm
When I explored my options for a local law firm to assist me with my business needs, I found RothMelei Attorneys At Law a good fit to function as my Chief Legal Officer team. I spent time getting to know the attorneys and determined if I could have a drink with them, share my thoughts to seek their professional council, and if they will be effective strategic partners in making good deals. I can say with confidence that, by applying the Top 10 Tips, I have a team of Lawyers with a broad bench strength working for me. I find their ability to relate to people a plus. I even love to drop in at my attorney’s office with donuts because they make me feel a part of one strategic business team focused on mutual prosperity.
**Do share your thoughts and lessons learned on selecting an Attorney so that we can all learn from each other’s experience. By collaborating we can work in tandem to grow our economic viability, building financially stable families and local communities. I look forward to an engaging discussion! **