Legal issues are undoubtedly incredibly stressful – both because they often mean significant changes happening in your life, but also a lot of money spent on legal fees. While having the right lawyer can often improve the outcome of a legal situation and make it easier to handle, the financial stress of paying for a lawyer can outweigh those benefits! One of the reason Texas Legal was created was to help everyday Texans access a lawyer when they needed one, without being worried about the cost. So here are the five most stressful legal events, and how your legal plan can help relieve that stress by helping you with finding an attorney and paying for their services.
How Stress Is Measured
Two researchers in the 1960s, Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe, found a strong connection between illness and stressful life events. They developed a scale to measure, in relative terms, how stressful different life events can be. They created a scale measured in “life change units,” with different life events measured in terms of how much change and stress they bring to a person’s life. The higher the score, the more stressful the event is, and the more likely a person would experience illness related to the stress. These life events and their impact on the body and mind have been measured across cultures consistently and held true over time.
Death of a Spouse
Death of a spouse is rated 100 on the Homes and Rahe scale, the most stressful life event, and it’s not hard to imagine why. While you may not think of your spouse dying as a legal matter, unfortunately, death brings a lot of legal hassles, including probate. Not having a will or having a poorly-written or outdated will can bring enormous hassles for you as a spouse and for your family, both legal and financial. While having a will can’t do anything to stem the enormous loss of your spouse, having a well-written will done by a lawyer who specializes in estate planning can significantly decrease at least one aspect of the stress of losing a spouse. A good estate planning attorney can also advise you on setting up life insurance, bank accounts and other assets so that they will quickly and easily transfer to the other spouse if one should pass away unexpectedly.
Clocking in at 73 on the Homes and Rahe stress scale, divorce is an extremely stressful life event that has an enormous legal element. The dissolution of a marriage and separating of assets is a legal process that is often expensive, difficult and time-consuming. Having a good family law attorney can significantly decrease both the time and money you spend on the legal side of your divorce. Texas Legal’s legal protection plans also cover mediation, allowing you to negotiate your divorce out of court and navigate a more peaceful future with your former spouse. A good family law attorney can also advise you on custody matters as well, helping you with child support agreements and parenting time arrangements.
Although not as final as divorce, martial separation is also an extremely stressful life event, rating a 65 on the stress scale. Although Texas does not have a legal separation process, unlike other states, there can still be significant legal considerations to a martial separation. Although a couple may come to an agreement on how a separation should work, without legal documents in place, one partner has no protection if the other changes their mind. That’s why the law allows for two kinds of cases to be filed without a divorce in place – a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) or a community property division case without a request for a termination of the marriage. These temporary orders spell out what the custody relationship will be for children affected by the separation, as well as jointly-owned property. Texas Legal’s legal insurance plans offer coverage for family law situations, and help you find a qualified attorney near you that can answer your questions about martial separation or other family law issues.
Most of us can never imagine being accused of a crime or being imprisoned as a result, but one in every 99 American adults are currently in jail, prison or other correctional facilities. If you were accused of a crime, would you have a lawyer to call? While no one plans on being this situation, it does happen, and it can give you peace of mind to know that if it happened to you, you’d have the resources available so you could get qualified legal help from a criminal law attorney.
Death of a Close Family Member
Much like the death of a spouse, the death of a close family member like a parent, sibling or child brings legal issues with wills, trusts and probate. While Texas law makes the distribution of assets fairly simple when someone is married, when it comes to other family relationships, the situations can get quite complicated. Consider, for example, a parent with several children and some step children and grandchildren, or a sibling who was never married but has significant assets. Perhaps a close family member listed you as an executor of their will, and you are tasked with carrying out their instructions. Unfortunately, this kind of stress can bring out the worst in people, causing difficult arguments and setting up life-long conflicts between cousins, siblings and family members. Having a lawyer’s help can signficiantly reduce stress, allow you to get accurate answers to your questions and get the best legal advice on how to proceed when a family member dies. Although legal help can’t take away the emotional pain of losing a loved one, resolving the legal issues quickly and easily can reduce one aspect of the stress of this life event.
Peace of Mind for your Legal Life
Whatever situation you find yourself in, a legal plan can give you the peace of mind that you will have an attorney’s help whenever you need it. At Texas Legal, we pride ourselves on being “always by your side,” ready to serve Texans where and when they need it with affordable legal help. Got a stressful situation on your hands? Use our online attorney finder to locate legal help near you.