People who are considering hiring a lawyer or working with a law firm in Nova Scotia for the first time have many of the same questions. Basically they want to know if it makes sense to hire a lawyer at all and how much will it cost. Here are some brief answers to how we at Highlander Law Group feel - but we're always happy to hear from you if you want to contact us for more detailed explanations.
Do I even need a lawyer?
Every situation is different and whether adding a lawyer to the mix will improve or complicate matters depends on the issues and people involved. If you have a serious concern, we always recommend you come in to discuss your situation with one of our lawyers.
Our Issue Review Consult (IRC) is designed for people who are unsure whether or not they need a lawyer. During the IRC, which costs $100 +tax, you get to meet with a lawyer, explain your situation and get their opinion on possible courses of action and outcomes. They’ll explain the process you’d be involved in and explain clearly what the costs would be. You also get to ‘test-drive’ the lawyer to see if they're a good fit for you.
How much will it cost?
Unless your matter is a flat fee service (eg. Wills, Real Estate transaction, Incorporation) we can’t give you a ballpark estimate without hearing some details about your situation.
So the first step is to come in for an Issue Review Consult (IRC). At that meeting, we will have an honest discussion about how much it will probably cost to accomplish what you are hiring us to do and how you will be expected to make payment. If the situation changes and it’s going to cost more than we initially anticipated, we always make sure to consult with you and get your permission before we proceed.
How long will it take?
Every situation is different and how long it will take depends on the issues and people involved. If you have a serious concern, we always recommend you come in to discuss your options with one of our lawyers. Our Issue Review Consult (IRC) is designed to help you understand the process, including the probable timelines.
A few types of issues have a fairly typical timeline. If you are wondering how long it takes to prepare a Will, Incorporate or sell a residential property please Contact Us and a member of our support staff will be happy to walk you through the typical timeline free of charge.
Do you do free consults?
Ever hear the expression advice is worth what you pay for it? We don’t do free consultations. Instead we offer the Issue Review Consult (IRC). This meeting generally takes about an hour. At an IRC, which costs $100 +tax, you describe your situation to the lawyer, then the lawyer will explain your options. including how long you can expect your matter to take and a cost estimate.
Unfortunately, there is a cost associated with getting legal assistance. If you aren’t in a position where is it worth it to you to spend $100+tax for the initial meeting, then your situation probably isn’t serious or urgent enough to require a lawyer.
I don’t want to sue. Can a lawyer still help?
Every situation is different and whether adding a lawyer to the mix will improve or complicate matters depends on the issues and people involved. Often a lawyer’s familiarity with the law and negotiating experience can help resolve your situation without going near a courthouse.
If you have a serious concern, we always recommend you come in to discuss your options with one of our lawyers. Our Issue Review Consult (IRC) is designed specifically for these situations. At an IRC, which costs $100 +tax, you describe your situation to the lawyer, then the lawyer will explain your options, including a discussion about the fees.
Can you help me decide whether to incorporate?
Absolutely! We highly recommend you meet with a lawyer and a chartered accountant prior to deciding whether or not to incorporate. Your lawyer will review with you the details of your business, your liability exposure and your plans for the future. Together you will discuss the pros and cons, including the related costs, and determine whether it makes sense for you to incorporate.
Once you’re incorporated, a lawyer can help you keep your yearly corporate documents in up to date. A lawyer can also help facilitate secured financing, a sale or any changes to the structure to your business. The right lawyer can be a valuable part of your team as your business grows over the years.
Why do I need a lawyer to buy or sell my house?
The only people who can now legally register a change of ownership at the Registry of Deeds are lawyers certified in the new land registration system. In theory, you can handle all elements of the sale/purchase of a property yourself and simply hire a lawyer to register the new deed for you, however, most people chose to use a lawyer to protect their interests during a property transaction.
It’s a flat rate to hire a lawyer to do a property transaction. The majority of the time your lawyer will be able to take payment when your transaction closes so you won’t need to pay in advance. A lawyer will review your Purchase/Sale Agreement and the title to the property involved to make sure there are no issues. On closing day, if there are any last minute problems, a lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to resolve them.
Why can’t I just make my Will from a ‘Will Kit’?
You can, and if you do it right, it will be perfectly valid. However, if you don’t, your loved ones either have to hire a lawyer to ask the court to overlook the error and declare the Will valid, or the Will is invalid and your estate will be divided according to the Wills Act. Your estate could also be subject to Probate – which is when every aspect of the division of your estate has to be handled through the court. Most people have to hire a lawyer to comply with the rules of Probate. Even worse, the entire value of your estate is subject to Probate Tax (a Tax you can easily avoid if you have done your estate planning properly).
When you hire us to draft your Will, we review your assets and potential beneficiaries in detail. It’s our job to keep an eye out for the things that might cause a problem if not handled correctly.
Can I get a divorce without going to court?
Yes. If both parties are in agreement, you can get legally divorced without having to attend court at all. You will typically require a binding, legally enforceable separation agreement that covers all of the elements that the court must address upon divorce. This includes, division of all property, custody and support of any children and if necessary, spousal support. You can find templates for this sort of agreement on the internet, but many of them do not cover everything required to complete the divorce.
Generally, if you are facing divorce, or even if you are in, or contemplating, the early stages of separation, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer to learn your rights. You will also want to learn what your options are in the interim before the divorce becomes final. A good first step is always to come in for an Issue Review Consult (IRC).