Abogados - Lawyers and Legal Advisors
If you are buying property in Spain, investing or starting a business, or making a will (among other reasons), you should definitely employ the services of an experienced lawyer. You will find that fees are generally lower than those charged by lawyers in northern European countries and when preparing contracts involving a sum of money, (ie property purchase), fees are calculated as a percentage of the sum involved. In cases where a lawyer is obligatory and your income is below double the Spanish minimum wage, you can apply for free legal assistance although unfortunately, he may not take as much interest in your case as a private lawyer would!
The Spanish for a Lawyer is an "Abogado" this is equivalent to a Solicitor or a Barrister in England or an Attorney in the United States.
There are many trained Lawyers in Spain and many of them speak very good English.
The areas where is it highly recommendable to engage the services of an Abogado are the purchase of a house or land, the making of a will, or helping you defend or raising a law suit. A family lawyer will help in the cases of divorce or disputes over custody of children.
Some Lawyers specialize in different areas of the law so it is wise to check that a Lawyer is familiar with your requirements.
There is a Law society in Spain called the Ilustre Colegio de Abogados. It operates at provincial level and sets minimum levels of charges. Do not hesitate to ask your lawyer for an estimate of his charges, better in writing. If you have a problem you can always take it up with the provincial "colegio" to which he is a member.
A lawyer often pays taxes and fees on your behalf. It is common practice for a Lawyer to ask you for a sum of money to put into his "client account" for which you will only receive a little receipt. When all the transactions are complete you should receive original receipt documents for the taxes paid, a statement of the Lawyer's own fees and the balance of your funds (if any). Always obtain an estimate of costs in advance, if possible in writing.
If you are a resident of modest means you may be entitled to free legal aid. Anybody with an income less than 2.5 times the legal minimum wage are entitled. The legal minimum in 2015 was about 10.000 Euro a year. The Colegio de Abogados who administer the scheme have a legal aid office in each Law court building or "Palacio de Justicia". The procedure is complicated and will involve much paperwork to prove your wage and assets.
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