When a complicated legal situation arises, one issue people struggle with is figuring out when to get off the internet and seek professional legal advice. Unfortunately, there is no set rules for seeking legal advice, since no case is the same. Of course, if you’re in a situation that requires the professional judgment of an attorney, it’s generally a good idea to seek legal advice. But because the law can be complex and confusing to civilians, below are a few general guidelines when it comes to seeking legal advice.

Some specific situations that may call for seeking legal advice, and soon, may include:

  • Signing a contract – it never hurts to have an attorney review the terms and conditions of a contract to ensure you’re not agreeing to unfair terms. Once you sign, it’s often too late to make any meaningful changes.
  • Buying or selling a home – while you should hope you have a trustworthy realtor, it could also be beneficial to have an attorney ensure you’re not dealing with unnecessary terms and expenses. While your bank should provide an attorney for the closing, you can also hire one yourself.
  • Starting a business – by asking an attorney for help with setting up your business correctly, you will avoid any fees or fines that may come with making a mistake or doing something wrong.
  • Settling an Estate – having a lawyer help settle an estate can maximize investment benefits and minimize tax consequences.
  • Going through a divorce – divorces can get sticky very quickly if not handled with care. A divorce attorney can help make decisions regarding property, debts, moving, and custody.
  • Wrongful termination – to determine if you have a case of wrongful termination, an attorney can help decide if you have a cause of action to earn compensation from any damages that were caused by losing your job.
  • Financial problems – filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process. Having an attorney by your side may be able to help you save your home or collect unpaid debt.

Generally speaking, it’s usually a good idea to seek legal advice as soon as you’re deprived of your legal rights (or fear you’re being taken advantage of). Most legal situations have statutes of limitation, meaning you only have a limited time to act. Waiting too long to seek legal advice may cause you to lose your right to take action against the situation.

A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you’re trying to decide if you should meet with an attorney at law, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and do it. With approximately 10,000 Americans being wrongfully convicted of a crime every year, not understanding the legal process you’re involved in could cause you to make mistakes with significant consequences.

Speaking with an attorney may be the best way to ensure your rights are protected and to avoid potential issues along the way.