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Finding the Right Real Estate Lawyer

Articles & Publications

January 2013
Coauthored by: A. Kimberly Hoffman
ABA Voice of Experience

Have you ever had to choose a real estate lawyer or guide someone else’s decision?  “Finding the Right Real Estate Lawyer” by Richard P. Beck and A. Kimberly Hoffman appears in the Winter 2013 edition of the American Bar Association’s magazine for senior counsel, Voice of Experience and offers their 45 years of combined experience on the how and when of selecting real estate counsel.  The article has already attracted attention outside the authors’ home state of Delaware, pointing to the widespread need for guidance in deciding how to choose a lawyer to handle the most financially significant transaction of many people’s lives.   Morris James, LLP partner and co-author Kimberly Hoffman explained, “In our practice a lot of the problems we see result from not engaging a lawyer until after listing agreements and contracts have been signed, and in some cases amended a few times, all without the benefit of legal guidance.”  This article is a practical guide to avoiding such pitfalls.”  Partner and head of the firm’s real estate practice Dick Beck points out that even individuals with exposure to estate tax who are buying or selling higher end residential properties sometimes do not seek sufficient legal advice, though even a residential transaction should not be treated as “routine” by such high net worth individuals.  The authors provide a handy checklist to guide the choice of real estate counsel in any situation, especially useful for brokers, family managers, financial advisors and estate planning counsel helping to guide their own clients.  Note that North Carolina should be added to the list of states requiring attorneys to conduct real estate closings and refinancings, in addition to the other states the authors list. 

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