~ Frequently Asked Questions ~
1. Why do you require an advance?
An advance is a deposit of money which is put into a trust account until the money is earned. It's an advance payment so to speak. I bill every 30 days and transfer the amount I earn from each advance into my business checking account. Once an advance is depleted, you are required to pay another one. If the case is completed and money remains in the trust account from your advance (i.e., I haven't earned it), I refund the unearned portion to you. I require an advance to ensure payment and to have money available to pay the various costs necessary.
Only in child protection and criminal cases provided you are deemed unable to afford to pay an attorney. The court does not appoint attorneys in family law matters.
No, not if you both want an attorney just to prepare the papers and not provide legal advice. If you also want legal advice, that would create a conflict and therefore, separate attorneys would then be necessary.
No, but is helpful most of the time to have representation by an attorney experienced in the type of case you have. There are certain things only a person with years of experience will know. If you cannot afford an attorney to represent you through the entire process, consider paying for at least a consultation. You will gain some knowledge and a lot of advice which can only help.
Right, but you must be sure you comply with the law and the lease, if you have one. There are strict requirements in eviction actions. Certain language must be put in the notice to quit. A 30 day notice may have to be served before the due date of the rent. This is one area of law where an attorney is worth every penny.
Of course, but you must make sure it is legal and protects you (e.g., allows you to evict for failure to pay rent). I prepare leases for landlords regularly who pay me to prepare one which can be used repeatedly. Itís money well spent.
Usually the value of your estate determines your need. If your estate exceeds a million dollars, I would encourage you to see an estate planner. However, if you are looking to prevent the state from using your assets to pay your nursing home bill, you will need a trust established. An estate planner deals with this issue as well.
I believe your attorney should be experienced in the area in which you need representation and accessible to you. You should be comfortable with your attorney. Your attorney should keep you informed about your case. You have one chance in court. If, at any time, you are not comfortable with how your case is proceeding, speak to your attorney about the problem. If you still feel uneasy, consider getting a second opinion by another attorney. Donít be afraid to speak up if you have concerns. Remember, itís your case. You reap the benefits of a great attorney and suffer the consequences of a bad one.
Rosemarie Giosia, Attorney At Law
3 Franklin Street
Ellsworth, ME 04605