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Costa Rica Real Estate Attorneys

How to Find and Hire a Lawyer

Anyone who comes to Costa Rica and intends to stay and live, even part-time, needs an attorney. If you are going to do any type of business, buy real estate, even sign up for a cell phone, you will need documents that can only be provided by a good attorney. Going into a business opportunity, buying or selling real estate and getting your residency, will require the services of, perhaps more than one attorney. The attorney you chose will be able to translate legal documents and explain the way the laws work in Costa Rica. You are in a Latin country, where the use of the Napoleonic legal system prevails. You will need a good attorney, for almost everything, from signing a lease to buying a car. You will need them for things you never imagined in your home country, but they are necessary when making your way through the bureaucratic system that exists in most Latin American countries.

You must speak fluent Spanish to hire an attorney that doesn't speak English so if you are not fully bilingual, be sure to choose an attorney that speaks both Spanish and your native language. At least some of his office workers should speak more than Spanish, this helps avoid communication problems, misunderstandings and enables you to stay on top of your legal affairs.

You should be aware of the fact that attorney's in Costa Rica, do not always work with the same type of ethic as they do in your homeland. Therefore, it is very important for you to keep tabs on your attorney, making sure he/she does the things he/she tells you he will take care of, in a timely fashion. If you do not check on him/her, regularly, you may find yourself with problems that you had not anticipated, due to the fact that he/she has not accomplished the amount of work he/she told you he would. Never assume he/she is doing what he claims. Always ask to see the work that he/she says has been completed. Make sure you do this on a regular basis, perhaps, once every couple of weeks, at least in the beginning. Paper work moves slowly in Costa Rica, as a general rule, so you do not need your attorney contributing to the delays. Make sure he/she is on top of all your requirements and legal needs.

In making a choice as to whom to hire as your attorney, make sure he/she is accessible a good portion of the time. Be sure you have your attorney's office and home telephone number in case you need him/her in an emergency. Should you find yourself always having a difficult time, reaching your attorney, this would indicate that they may not be taking care of your business in a professional manner and you may have to find another person for the job. Make sure you chose the right type of attorney for your specific cases. Although most attorneys are educated and required in basic knowledge of Costa Rican law, it is good to have a clear understanding of what section of the law that your attorney has specialized in. Often you will find that it is a good idea to have several different attorneys for each situation that you find needs legal advice.

Be sure to look around in your attempt to find the right attorney for you. You will not find a lack of available candidates as there are thousands of qualified attorneys to choose from. Ask for advice from friends, retirees and other knowledgeable people for the names of their attorney, or someone that they have knowledge of and can recommend. Just make sure you pick from a reliable source. Contact your embassy. Inquire about the recommended attorney's reputation, his work methods and integrity. No matter where you are in the world, you can find incapable, dishonest attorneys, so use caution, before you make your final choice. Your attorney is going to become a very integral part of your life in Costa Rica, so it is important to have a good working relationship. Most attorneys charge from $50 to $200 an hour depending on their experience and expertise. However, do not choose your attorney, based on his fees. Likewise, because a lawyer is expensive does not mean he is competent.

There is a Costa Rican version of the Bar Association, if you have any questions about legal fees. This organization will tell you what the minimum legal fees are for transactions that are based on cost. In other words, if the fee for Immigration services is typically $1000 per person, the fee the attorney charges is a percentage of that. These types of costs, are what the bar association will provide. In Costa Rica it is not unnusual to hire an attorney for all your legal needs. The fees for this would be negotiable and probably require some sort of retainer. You might consider doing the paperwork involved, that gives your attorney a power of attorney so that in the event, you are out of the country or unavailable for some reason, he can attend to your legal affairs, in your behalf.

There are two options for this kind of trust document. One is a General Power of attorney, which would allow him / her to do all your personal business or legal needs. The other is a Special Power of attorney, which would be for a single act, like signing a mortgage document or offer to purchase property. Both of these documents can be revoked at any time, however if you chose to do this sort of thing, it requires absolute trust. Make very sure you are dealing with a totally trustworthy individual.

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