Should I Hire an Attorney or Do It Myself?

As an attorney, I commonly get asked: “Is this something I need a lawyer for, or can I do it myself?” The answer depends on several factors.

Here are some questions to help you decide if you should get a professional.

What Is Your Education and Experience?

Do you have experience and/or education with the area of law or issue that you need help with? Where did this experience come from? If you are drawing on the experience in another state, be careful, laws can be very different in another state. I have seen many people lead astray by neighbors or family members who give advice based upon what worked in another state.

How Complicated Is the Legal Problem?

When you Google your problem, do you find a clear solution? Is this solution from a credible source? Does the same solution keep popping up across several credible sources? In this case, then I would say go for it DIY. You may still be better served by a professional, but if you are confident enough to be able to have peace of mind in your solution go for it!

How Important Is the Work You Are Doing?

Is there a large financial risk? Or is it simply a matter of filing some paperwork? Is the wellbeing of your loved ones at stake? One of the most devastating cases I’ve seen was informing a sixty something-year-old child, who was planning to use inheritance from her father to retire, that she was not a beneficiary. She would receive nothing. Her father had assured her that he would provide for her and that was probably his intent. However, his Estate Plan was not executed correctly. When it comes to serious financial matters, criminal charges, or ensuring the protection of a loved one, I strongly encourage hiring a professional.

Do You Have Time?

Even if you know what you need to do, do you have the time to do it? Or maybe you still don’t know what you need to do, do you have the time to keep researching? Frequently, we have clients who start projects themselves, but soon realize that they do not have the time. Time is a precious commodity, hiring a professional frees up your time.

Should You Do It Yourself?

So, with some research, will power, and a whole lot of time, you can do it yourself, but the better question is should you? Consider this analogy. If I am having car trouble, I can repair the car myself. I have a basic understanding of how to use tools. I am good at research and could look up how to make the repairs either online or in a manual, and I could set aside some time to do the work.

However, I usually take my car to a technician. My mechanic has the training and experience in auto repairs to fix little problems before they become major issues, which helps maintain the value of my vehicle. It also maximizes my time to drop off my car and have someone else do the work. Professional legal matters are very similar. Hiring a legal professional takes advantage of the attorney’s education and experience to avoid complications, protect what matters to you, and save you time.

How to Find Help

Now you’ve decided you want some help, so what now? You could turn to software like and to find legal information to help you complete the documents. That is still DIY since the documents are only as good as you make them. There are also “document preparers” that are licensed to prepare legal documents, but they have little to no training and can’t practice law. This ends up being barely a step up from DIY.

You Should Hire a Qualified Legal Professional

An attorney, licensed in your state, can give you legal advice and is trained to spot issues that you might not be aware of. There are several things to consider when hiring a professional, but I suggest finding a focused attorney who limits their practice of law to certain areas of the law specific to your needs.

If you are in need of an estate planning attorney, Dana and Associates is here for you. Contact our office to schedule a free Personal Family Legal Session.