How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney
Dec. 1, 2021
Choosing an estate planning attorney is a big decision, and one that should not be made lightly. There are many things to consider when choosing the right estate planning attorney for your needs.
Before retaining an attorney to assist with your estate plan, here are five questions you should ask:
What areas of the law do you practice?
What is your experience handling matters like mine?
What services do you offer?
How often will we communicate?
What are your fees and how do you charge?
Let’s take a closer look at each question and why it’s so important to ask any potential attorney.
Areas of Law
Most lawyers practice a narrow niche of the law - and there can be staggering differences between practice areas. A criminal defense attorney is probably not well-versed in the nuances of estate planning and intestacy law. In a nutshell, it benefits you to work with an attorney who works solely within estate planning because they will be highly experienced in exactly the area for which you need guidance.
It’s important to work with an attorney who has handled matters like yours in the past. For example, if you need help crafting a special needs trust for your child, it would be preferable to work with an estate planning lawyer that specializes in this type of matter because they will have prior experience preparing these types of trusts. Someone with specialized experience can complete the task more quickly and efficiently than an attorney who needs to learn the ropes.
The services you may require are unique to your needs so it’s important to find an attorney who can provide the legal advice you need at a cost that fits within your budget. Many lawyers offer unique services and packages, so it’s worth finding out if your attorney offers the exact services you need.
Some clients prefer their attorney to be readily available while others don’t mind waiting for a response until standard business hours. It’s important to work with an estate planning attorney who communicates in the way you prefer so there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings about what was expected.
The cost of professional legal services can vary widely based on many factors, not the least of which is the billing method used by a particular attorney. Some attorneys bill hourly, others prefer to offer a flat fee for specific services and some even work on contingency fees where they only get paid if you win your case.
When it comes to estate planning, having an experienced lawyer who can provide guidance in all aspects of the law is vital, but it’s also important to communicate effectively and know your budget so you can work within it.
I’m Here to Answer Your Estate Planning Questions
If you’re ready to create an estate plan to protect your loved ones (and preserve your legacy) contact my office for a free strategy session. I’m here to answer all your estate planning questions and ensure you get the best legal representation for your needs.
Have realistic expectations. Realistic expectations set limits and boundaries for children, which helps them build self-esteem. When you have clear expectations that are fair and age-appropriate your child will feel secure knowing what is expected of them without having to worry about being judged or penalized harshly.