Time is money, especially when it comes to the law. A primary reason is that in the majority of cases, attorneys are paid hourly. And additional legal experience an attorney brings to table is typically reflected in the rate. Combine this with the fact that litigation is often a long and cumbersome process, and you could soon find yourself paying more than you bargained for.
Fortunately, there are often ways to avoid an all-out courtroom brawl—and its accompanying expenses. The first is legal preventative care. For individuals, this can take on a number of forms. A good first step is reviewing your insurance to ensure that you have adequate professional, home and auto insurance coverage. That way, when disputes arise, you have a better chance of having your legal expenses covered. Designating a medical agent may not necessarily save you money, but in the event you become incapacitated for any reason, it is central to saving loved ones not just money but a great deal of heartache. Doing so is frequently included in a person’s estate plan—perhaps the single most powerful tool a person can wield in preventing long, drawn out court battles.
For businesses it pays to keep your corporate filings and professional licenses current. While oral contracts may be enforced in Utah absent statutory restrictions (such as most interests in land), a good written contract can drastically limit misunderstandings and abbreviate otherwise lengthy litigation. Make certain that your contracts are tailored to the specific situations that may arise and that they have a provision for recovering attorney fees if you have to enforce them.
Regardless of whether you are an individual or business, DO NOT ignore legal notices, be they demand letters, subpoenas, court orders, judgments, etc.
Finally, hold on to pertinent records at least 7 years because many written contract claims do not expire for six years.
For those interested in setting up an estate plan, having contracts reviewed, or reviewing a legal notice, don’t hesitate to reach out at 801.365.1030.
Michael D. Lichfield