There are many types of legal issues and matters that a person may be able to handle on their own, for example, downloading a simple form from the internet to compose your own will can be somewhat straightforward if you don't have many assets or debts. However, there are times when it's good to call a lawyer to prepare certain types of paperwork and legal agreements for you, or to assist you in legal matters. This can ensure your rights are protected and you understand how the law applies to you or to a certain legal situation.

1. When living together without marriage

If you're in a long-term relationship with someone but are not legally married, you may want to visit a lawyer to have certain paperwork drawn up and signed in order to protect your rights as a couple. For example, you may want your partner to have the final decision about medical care for you if you should become incapacitated, but if you're not legally married, your parents or another family member may have that legal right instead. A lawyer can note what rights should be protected and also note any agreements needed between you when it comes to things like property sharing or legal child custody for children you have.

2. When administering the estate of someone else

If you've been named the executor of an estate, you may not want to navigate this job on your own. There are people who may have legal claim to the estate even if they're not mentioned in a will, and some people have the legal right to see a will that's been filed. You want to ensure that you recognize the rights of others when you're an executor but also follow through on a deceased person's wishes. An attorney can ensure that you manage both these aspects of being an executor.

3. When adopting a stepchild

Adopting a stepchild can be a bit complicated because the biological parent needs to give up their rights to that child, just like adopting any other child. The biological parent may have a certain legal "cooling off" period after signing the adoption papers in order to change their minds, but this type of law will usually vary from location to location. There may be other legal entanglements you haven't considered when making this decision and which need to be addressed in the process, so talk to a legal firm before you even decide that this is the best choice for your home and family.