How Not To Get Legal Advice

Becky Cholewka: I wanted to do a quick video on how not to get legal advice because, unfortunately, this is one of the biggest areas that I see a lot of people trip up on. A lot of people are getting legal advice from their tax person, their financial planner, their brother who lives in Georgia, or their hair dresser.

While these people might be very well intending, these are not attorneys in your specific state who know how to guide you and give you great legal advice for your particular situation.

What a lot of people don’t understand is there’s a lot of different laws at play. There’s not only different state laws and federal laws. Sometimes, there are different city jurisdictional laws, as well.

When you’re talking to somebody who’s working on completely different facts, maybe in a completely different part of town that you are in, a lot of that information or advice that you’re getting is not going to be good information for your particular circumstance.

For example, we’ve heard a lot from financial planners that you should never put your IRA into a trust. That’s absolutely not true. There are reasons to do it, and it’s at death. It’s not while you are alive.

We’ve had a lot of financial planners push back and say, “No, no, no. We never advise our clients to name their trust on the beneficiary form for an IRA.”

To me, that’s really shameful, because there are actually a lot of good reasons to do that. They’re legal reasons, and I would like and encourage you to actually start seeking your legal advice from people who are trained to actually give you legal advice.

Otherwise, we’ve just seen too many problems on the back end of people listening to advice from well-intentioned people but, unfortunately, it was just very poor advice.

Another example would be at your bank. There are a lot of bankers out there that recommend and suggest to people, “Just put your adult child on your checking account for you. That’ll make it easier if something should happen to them that they can still get in your account and help you.”

The problem with that is there is some legal liability with that. For example, if I left my son on my account, although he’s seven, so let’s pretend he’s 17, and he was in a car accident and got sued, that now completely opens up my account to his lawsuit creditors.

You don’t want to put children on your accounts with you unless they truly own half of that account with you. There are better options and better strategies available, and we’d love to help you through those.

Feel free to call our office for a consultation, our number, here, 480‑497‑3770.