Legal Assistance in North Carolina

 

At times, you may find that legal consultation and/or representation is needed. There are many types of legal services available and many types of legal specialties.

 

Orange County Courthouse

 

 

American Bar Association

The American Bar Association offers a "Consumer Guide to Legal Help" which can help guide you as you determine which type of attorney is right for you. This valuable online guide is set up with the following categories:

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NC State Bar

The NC State Bar was formed by the Legislature to license and discipline attorneys. The NC Bar Association is a voluntary organization of legal professionals offering services for both professionals and the public. Both work together to provide North Carolina residents with reliable legal assistance.

The North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service provides the name of an attorney in a particular area of law based on geographic location to a member of the public. It is not a reduced fee or pro bono (free) service. In most cases a $30.00 fee will be charged, which entitles the caller to a 30 minute consultation with the attorney. Some attorneys do not charge for brief consultations. Some attorneys do. Callers should clarify the consultation fee in advance with the attorney. Please note that they do not provide referrals to pro-bono or volunteer lawyers. Call 1-800- 662-7660 in state; (919) 677-8574 for the local Raleigh area and from out of state.

There is also an online version of this service called NC Find-A-Lawyer . This online service is available 24 hours a day. An online form is filled out and you will be referred to an attorney in your area. There is no charge for the referral, however the attorney may charge up to $30 for an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes.

NC Legal Specialization, a program of the NC State Bar offers a "Specialist Directory" to connect you with attorneys in NC who specialize in particular areas and who are certified by the NC State Bar . For more information, call the State Bar at 919-828-4620 and ask for the specialization program.

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Pro Bono Assistance If You Cannot Afford to Pay

If you need legal assistance but cannot afford an attorney, there are options available.

The American Bar Association's "Consumer Guide to Legal Help" is state specific. They offer information specifically on finding pro bono assistance in North Carolina.

Legal Aid may be able to offer assistance. There are income guidelines for qualification. Their central intake number is 1-866-219-5262.

Legal Aid of NC

 

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Did you know that Legal Aid of North Carolina partnered with the U.S. Administration on Aging to offer legal services to seniors?  Call their toll-free Senior Legal Helpline at 1-877-579-7562 to see if you qualify.  Or visit their Senior Law Project webpage for specific information on services and eligibility.

 

LawHelp is a joint project of the North Carolina Legal Services Planning Council, the North Carolina Bar Association and Probono.net.  Their goal is to provide the public with easy internet access to basic legal information and legal resources in North Carolina. The site can help you locate pro bono legal help.

 

WFU Clinic Client
The Law School at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem has an Elder Law Clinic. They offer free legal assistance to moderate income seniors, using law students. They specialize in medical and health related issues.
*picture courtesy WFU

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Self Help or "Do It Yourself" Legal Help

The American Bar Association's "Consumer Guide to Legal Help" is state specific. They offer information specifically on finding legal information and resources in North Carolina.

In NC, if you want to represent yourself in a family law matter, the 26th Judicial District SelfServe Center website is available to assist.

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North Carolina Statutes Related to Long-Term Care Planning

Should you choose to sign pre-planning documents without the assistance of an attorney, you may want to review the relevant legislative statutes to ensure that you understand what is required, what it means, and where or if you must have the documents notarized and recorded to have them be valid.

In North Carolina some relevant statutes are:

 

Living Will NC Gen. Stat. § Sec. 90-321 (d)
Revocation NC Gen. Stat. § Sec. 90-321 (e)
Absence of a Living Will NC Gen. Stat. 90-320, 321, and 322
Do Not Resuscitate Orders NC Senate Bill 703
Powers of Attorney                 NC Gen. Stat. Chp. 32A
Registration NC Gen. Stat. Chp. 32A-9(b) 
Appointment, resignation, removal, substitution, and revocation NC Gen. Stat. Chp. 32A-12,13
Health Care Power of Attorney NC Gen. Stat. Chp. 32A-15-24
Guardianship NC Gen. Stat. Chp. 35A
Patient Rights in the Hospital 10A NCAC 13B.3302 Rules

 

To find these statutes online, go to the North Carolina General Assembly website and enter the statute number in the search form offered in the link below.

 

The NC Administrative Office of the Courts (919-733-7107) offers a website where legal documents can be found online. They also offer information on guardianship and wills and estates.

 

Lee County Courthouse Raleigh Courthouse Moore County Courthouse

 

*Picture Credits:
Chatham County Courthouse - Home & Ideas Magazine; Orange County Courthouse - Alliance for Historic Hillsborough; Wake County Courthouse - Wake County

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