Do I Really Need to Hire a Lawyer in Costa Rica?
For those of you accustomed to the legal adversarial system in place in the United States the idea of hiring a lawyer seems repugnant.
After all your local TV station likely runs adds for Lawyers that advertise as being the “most aggressive” the one that will “fight for your.” This “pit bull” approach is very common in the United States legal system because of the litigious nature of the country.
As such there is an inherent fear within the system of having to come in contact with a Lawyer. The presumption being that if I need a lawyer it is because something really bad has happened. As such the notion of hiring a lawyer is perceived as a negative and expensive proposition and that is probably a justified assumption.
Furthermore, in those cases where you don’t have to pay for legal services up front you are likely facing an injury which puts you in contact with a different sector of the legal practice which is personal injury law.
This specialty of the law generally functions on a contingency payment basis where the Attorney charges a percentage generally 30% or more of the amount that is recovered, if any.
When you arrive in Costa Rica you need to put those perceptions behind you because you will soon discover that you will require the services of a Lawyer for many transactions that you would not have imagined. As such it is best to establish a relationship early on to ensure that you have somebody you can count on when needed.
Costa Rican Lawyers act either in their capacity as a legal adviser or when they act as a Notary Public to record transactions in the Costa Rican national recording system.
All of the following transactions require the services of a Lawyer/Notary:
- Transferring title to real estate.
- Transferring title to a car, boat or motorcycle.
- Forming a corporation.
- Changing the Board of Directors of an existing corporation.
- Recording or removing a mortgage lien.
- Recording or removing an automobile lien.
- Filing a trademark registration.
The National Recording Registry of Costa Rica has delegated to the Costa Rican Notary Public the role of drafting and filing all public documents into the system. As such the Lawyer when they act in their capacity as a Notary Public are the gatekeepers between the general public and the recording office.
I generally find that people who come into Costa Rica with their legal relationship established early on have a smooth transition settling into Costa Rica.
Those that get off to a bad start either trying to do things on their own or hiring the wrong legal adviser can have their retirement dreams turn into a nightmare. So do your research well and start your relationship early on to ensure a positive experience in adapting to the Costa Rican lifestyle.
Protect Your Property in Costa Rica Now! Our VIP Members can apply for a free, 30 minute legal consultation in the Law Offices of Attorney Roger Petersen today! Extremely limited times available so call now!
Written and copyright by Attorney at Law – Roger A. Petersen. Roger has been an attorney since 1992 and is a member of both the Costa Rican and Florida Bar. He practices law in San José, Costa Rica and is the author of the best-selling book The Legal Guide To Costa Rica which you can order from Barnes & Noble here or from Amazon.com here.
To speak with Attorney Roger Petersen about hiring him as your Costa Rica attorney, please contact him using the information below:
Escazu, San José, Costa Rica
Tel: 506-2288-2189 Ext. 101 or 2288-6228 Ext. 101
You can email Attorney Roger Petersen by clicking here.
You can visit the Petersen Law Office Website here.
You can visit the CostaRicaLaw website here.
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