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Similar to how illnesses often necessitate the treatment of a doctor, legal issues often require the expertise and guidance of an attorney. Like medicine, law is complex, specialized and constantly evolving. Understanding laws, as well as legal systems and processes, not only takes years of studying and an advanced degree. It requires continuing education to ensure that attorneys are aware of new laws and stay abreast of changes to existing laws.
Although the increasing availability of legal services on the internet has made it easier to access basic legal information, these services are no substitute for the expert advice of a licensed, local attorney. Typically, online legal services offer only national perspectives, whereas local attorneys are able to provide clients with market-specific, regional insight and the personalized guidance needed to resolve a particular legal issue.
While self-representation in conservatorship and probate matters may work for some, studies show that representing yourself, or “Pro Se” (the official term for legal self-representation), can result in costly mistakes and unfavorable outcomes. Consider these findings:
- Formatting documents and delivering them correctly is not always clear and straightforward. The court has strict requirements on what documents are needed to establish or alter a conservatorship, and mistakes made therein could delay your case or even derail the appointment of a conservator—something your incapacitated loved one may not have time for.
- Conservatorship and other probate law situations are frequently complicated legal matters. An attorney will ensure that you understand your rights and options in your particular case, which may differ significantly from a typical case.
- The most common errors associated with do-it-yourself conservatorship documents are caused by the omission of specific requirements or formalities required by local law, usually involving the manner in which documents are executed.
- Laws change frequently, and thus, the requirements for people affected by these laws also change. By having legal representation, you not only increase the chances that your conservatorship will be handled well and you’ll get the results you want, but any changes in law will be brought to your attorney’s attention and handled in prompt fashion.