When you move abroad, you might think that continuing to use your lawyer back at home will suit all of your needs. Maybe you think, “Hey, I’m just moving abroad for a year or two and don’t want to get involved with another lawyer.” Maybe you just don’t know why you would need one.
Sooner or later, though, most expats will need a lawyer for some reason or other. Here are some of the top reasons for hiring a local lawyer in your new home city:
They Know Local Law
The laws in your adopted city aren’t the same as the laws at home. Chances are, you haven’t learned them yet. Chances are even better that your lawyer back at home doesn’t know the laws in Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia either.
Retaining a local lawyer can place you on better footing. A local lawyer can advise you on all nuances of the law in your new city and help you out whenever you have a question.
They Can Guide You
Of course, a local lawyer can answer your questions. They can also provide guidelines or warnings about what to do and not to do even before you ask your questions.
If you get a local lawyer on your side, you can get the inside track on everything law-related in your new city.
Investing and Taxes
Two of the biggest financial aspects of your life that might change when you move to Asia are: How you pay taxes and your investment possibilities.
Depending on which country you are from, you might be paying a different or reduced tax bill. You might also have the opportunity to make different sorts of investments than you can at home. In certain jurisdictions, you might be able to try out offshore investing or collecting overseas investment profits tax-free.
In some of these situations, the small amount you spend to sit down with an attorney might mean the opportunity to make much more money!
Familiarity with Local Contracts
Though there is likely in-house counsel employed at your new company, you might want to have an objective attorney look at your work, lease or other contracts. You certainly don’t want your lawyer from home looking over an international contract, he or she will not know what’s normal or standard in your new city. A local lawyer is perfect for this task.
They Know the Local Language
Even if the language is simply a regional version of English, there will be intricacies and odd turns of phrase that you may not understand. If you see these on legal documents, make sure you find out exactly what’s being outlined before you sign. You don’t want to end up in a sticky situation because you didn’t know what an unusual phrase really meant!
Taking precautions by engaging local counsel will take a weight off your shoulders and allow you to enjoy your new home city more. You are now a local now, so it’s best to dive right in with a new local lawyer!
This article is written by Adrian Mah from Asia Law Network.
This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.