How Do I Find a Great Estate Planning Attorney?
Taking care of important estate planning tasks will limit the potential for family fighting and possible legal battles, in the event you become incapacitated, as well as after your death. An estate planning attorney can help you avoid mistakes and missteps and assist you in adjusting your plans as your individual situation and the laws change.
Next Avenue’s recent article “How to Find a Good Estate Planner” offers a few tips for finding one:
How Do I Find a Great Estate Planning Attorney? Ask for referrals from friends and family. Ask them questions about their attorney and the estate planning process. Were they satisfied with the communication they had with the attorney? Were their questions answered? Were there any concerns with the information, advice or length of time for the work to be produced?
Go with a Specialist. Not every lawyer specializes in estate planning, so look for one whose primary focus is estate and trust law in your area. After you’ve found a few possibilities, ask him or her for references. Speak to those clients to get a feel for what it will be like to work with this attorney, as well as the quality of his or her work. It is valuable to have an attorney that also handles related fields. It makes sense for an attorney that prepares wills to also handle will contests and litigation around will preparation. The litigation about preparing wills informs the internal office work and makes it more precise and more immune to family challenges.
Ask About Experience. Ask about the attorney’s trusts-and-estates experience. Ask about the attorney’s estate planning practice and whether your situation is similar to past client experiences. Be sure your attorney can handle your situation, whether it is a complex business estate or a small businesses and family situation. If you have an aging parent, work with an elder law attorney.
Be Clear on Prices. The cost of your estate plan will depend on the complexity of your needs, your location and your attorney’s experience level. When interviewing potential candidates, ask them what they’d charge you and how you’d be charged. Some estate planning attorneys charge a flat fee. If you meet with a flat-fee attorney, ask exactly what the cost includes and ask if it’s based on a set number of visits or just a certain time period. You should also see which documents are covered by the fee and whether the fee includes the cost of any future updates. There are some estate-planning attorneys who charge by the hour.
It’s an Ongoing Relationship. See if you’re comfortable with the person you choose, because you’ll be sharing personal details of your life and concerns with them.
Ask for affiliations. Is your attorney part of the estate planning community? Your attorney should be active in the local and national estate planning scene. This way your attorney has the resources to interact with local colleagues about local issues and the ability to spot trends on a nationwide level.
Reference: Next Avenue (September 10, 2019) “How to Find a Good Estate Planner”