Frequently Asked Questions

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How does an attorney charge?

In most cases, attorneys charge an hourly fee for work performed on behalf of a client; however, there are exceptions. In a personal injury case, for example, an attorney most often charges based on a contingency fee. In that case, the client agrees to pay a percentage of the recovery to the attorney. You, as the client, always have the right to discuss fees with the attorney you choose.

What is a retainer?

A retainer is a sum of money that an attorney will require to begin work on a matter for you. Retainers can be a flat fee for representation or a retainer can be an initial payment for work to be done. When the retainer is used, monthly invoices will be provided.

What is a Living Trust and should I have one?

A “living trust” is a legal entity to which your assets (bank accounts, securities, house, etc.) can be transferred and managed by a person, including yourself, or a corporation (such as a bank or trust company) called a “trustee”. The trustee manages your assets in accordance with written instructions contained in the trust document. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable.

It is important for people to carefully weigh the benefits of creating a Will or a Living Trust in order to achieve their plans to distribute their estate upon death. A Will and a Living Trust are documents that should be prepared by an Attorney and we are prepared to discuss the issues with you and prepare the legal document that best fits your needs.

Does my will get recorded at the Courthouse?

No. A will is only recorded after the testator’s (maker of the will) death if the decedent had sufficient assets in their own name. This process of placing the will of record in the Register of Wills Office is called probate.

What is probate?

When a person dies owning assets in his or her name alone, an estate must be started by a personal representative to handle the decedent’s assets and take care of settling the decedent’s affairs. This is called the probate or estate administration process. The personal representative is called an Executor if appointed in the decedent’s Will and is otherwise called an Administrator. The personal representative can be an individual or a corporation (such as a bank or trust company).

I am purchasing property. Do I have to title insurance and what is it?

When you purchase property, you do not want a problem that occurred long before you bought your property to deprive you of ownership or your right to use or dispose of it. There are many hidden “title defects” that could cause you title problems and make it impossible for you to sell or even give your property away. Title insurance is protection against potential defects which could remain hidden despite the most thorough search of public records. Title insurance can reimburse you for loss suffered due to defects that existed prior to the issue date of your policy and some policies also provide for legal defense costs.

If I have been in an auto accident, do I need an attorney?

If you have been in an auto accident and you, or any of your passengers, have been injured you should contact an attorney. An attorney will work with to collect money from the at-fault driver to cover hospital bills and any other medical fees. Attorneys are seasoned professionals who have successful strategies for helping injured victims in any type of accident.

What is a limited liability company and should my new business be a corporation or a limited liability company?

The limited liability company is a relatively new form of business organization, which shares characteristics of the corporation and of the partnership. It is managed similarly to the general partnership, and its owners (known as members) enjoy both limited personal liability and favorable federal tax treatment.

How do the local zoning laws affect the use of my property?

After its people, the most valuable asset of any community it its land. Through the local zoning and planning process, municipal officials representing the residents of their community determine how best to utilize land for the collective benefit of the community. These decisions dictate how a community will look, the types of housing, where development will be located and the kinds of jobs available to its residents. If an individual property owner lives in a community that has zoning laws, it is important to know what he/she can and cannot do with the property they own.

My child was charged with a DUI. Does he/she need an attorney?

Although you have the right to represent yourself in court against a DUI charge, we strongly advise you to retain an attorney to represent you. For many people charged with DUI, this is their first encounter with the law. An experienced attorney at Lope Law can explain the criminal justice process and what an individual in this situation can expect moving forward. We will also evaluate the strength of the case and determine if the arresting agency violated your rights during the stop and arrest. In the event that the arresting officer did not have reasonable suspicion to pull you over or probable cause to arrest you, we can file motions to suppress the evidence that was obtained after your rights were violated. DUI penalties have become more severe in the last few years. An attorney at Lope Law can assist you in navigating through this tough time in your life. We offer a free phone consultation.

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