Robert is a top-notch attorney. He is a brilliant problem solver and planner. He is able to see issues from multiple perspectives and to understand the potential ramifications of any course of action that he recommends. I highly recommend his services to you as he has been very helpful to me when I have needed his assistance.

The Wrongful Practice of Law

People do not like lawyers. The opinion polls on lawyers and law firms are generally not good. The numbers say lawyers are not much respected among most of the populace. The polls continue to get worse.


When I have asked people why they have ill feelings toward lawyers, the answers are: "Lawyers charge too much. They get paid to lie. Lawyers are often arrogant. Anytime I've ever talked to a lawyer I've ended up angry or poorer." Fair enough. There is a lot of truth to it. For every quoted transgression, there's an attorney who will commit it - but it's also true that most lawyers would not overcharge, lie, or be anything less than a zealous advocate for their clients.


The trust and estates legal practice offers a good illustration of where some of the frustration concerning lawyers comes from. I have found that the "non-probate" or "non-estate planning" attorneys consistently mess up estate plans and the postmortem probates of estates. The most common mistakes are often made by a decedent's advisor, friend or lawyer. Often, the problem is that the lawyer had no business practicing in the planning or probate of estates.


The estates practice is a unique area of the law, where a small mistake can lose millions of dollars, years or even decades after the mistake. The litigation side often deals with trying to reach the original goals of the now-deceased will-signer or trust-maker. A lot of estate plan repair and interpretation work is litigated in the courts.


Many lawyers seem to think that they will "one-off" a will, or a trust or the probate of a family friend's estate. What they are really doing is called malpractice, because the later legal fees paid to correct the first lawyer's mistakes, are the monies and valuables from that family's legacy or estate that are now being paid to the later litigating probate attorney.


Accordingly, a good portion of my law practice is based on the mistakes of other lawyers. Some common examples of estates-related lawyer mess ups include wills that lack signatures, trusts that do not work, accidental disinheritances, and incorrect probate petitions filed by nonprobate attorneys.


The point is not to point out attorneys for practicing outside their field. Rather it is to show that you should really go to a lawyer that is practiced in the specific legal area where you need help. With legal services, or with anything, you get what you pay for and you should always talk with more than one attorney when you are looking.

* Robert S. Meyring, of Meyring Law Firm offers free 10 minute phone evaluations at 678-217-4369. The Meyring Law Firm is located 200 feet east of the railroad crossing on Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. More information at www.MeyringFirm.com.