Start by looking for attorneys specializing in estate planning, wills, and trusts. Make sure to expand your search geographically.
Ask prospective lawyers for references from previous clients. It is essential to gauge their experience level and ability to work with you. Also, take notes during the interview process to compare candidates later.
Ask for Referrals
This article explains that online directories and hotlines are a good starting point; your best bet is to get a referral from someone you trust. For example, if you know an attorney, financial advisor, or CPA knowledgeable in estate planning law, ask them to refer you to one of their colleagues.
An experienced attorney will listen carefully to your goals and concerns during your initial consultation. She will also ask you detailed questions about your family and finances so she can tailor a comprehensive plan for you.
Inquire whether your attorney carries malpractice insurance. While malpractice claims are rare, it is always a good idea to be protected. Also, ask if the attorney has attended any legal seminars or courses on estate planning laws. This will ensure that she is up-to-date on all the legal implications of this practice area. Determining how she handles intellectual property rights will also be essential, as this could impact your estate plan.
Inquire About Their Fees
When finding an estate planning attorney, you should ask about their fees. This includes whether they charge a flat fee or an hourly rate. Also, ask if they charge a consultation fee and what that covers.
Some attorneys offer a flat fee that may include drafting all necessary documents, such as a will and power of attorney. Others may only have a basic plan. If you want to prepare more complex documents, you’ll need to find an attorney who offers a higher hourly rate.
Many attorneys will give you a quote over the phone before meeting in person. This will allow you to compare the rates of different attorneys and choose the best one for your needs. You can also ask an attorney about their experience in estate planning and any other areas of law. This will help you understand how well-versed they are in this area of law. They should be able to answer your questions in a way that makes you feel confident.
Ask About Their Experience
You may find that your friends and family have a good idea of who is the best fit for you, or you can ask local bar associations to refer you to an attorney. But keep in mind that lawyers listed with these services have paid a fee to do so and do not necessarily make any judgments as to whether the lawyer is competent or not.
Looking for an estate planning attorney specializing in this legal area is essential. They will be familiar with the state-specific laws surrounding estate planning and your location’s unique laws.
Ask the attorney for references and contact those clients about their experience. Inquire about how the attorney bills and whether they charge a flat fee or hourly rate. This will help you compare rates and determine the best fit for your needs.
Make an Appointment
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential estate planning attorneys, it’s time to make an appointment. When you arrive for your consultation, be prepared to inform the attorney about your finances (salary and assets), family dynamics, and specific goals and wishes.
During the meeting, ask the attorney about their experience and whether they specialize in estate planning. It is also a good idea to bring contact information for any other advisors you may have, such as a financial planner or CPA.
While it may seem unpleasant to think about what happens when you die, having an estate plan is essential to ensuring your wishes are followed. With the right attorney, the process can be much less complicated and stressful for your loved ones. In addition, you can be sure that your assets are protected by the laws of your state. Most attorneys charge an hourly or flat fee, so clarify this upfront.