Choosing the Right Estate Planning Attorney

When it comes to estate planning, there is a lot at stake. Choosing the right attorney can make all the difference in your ability to successfully convey your wishes, minimize taxes and protect your loved ones after your death. It is essential that you choose an attorney with experience in this area of law and whom you feel comfortable working with. It is also a good idea to ask about the attorney’s education and whether or not they belong to any professional organizations related to estate planning law.

In addition to asking the prospective attorney about their background, you should also inquire about fees. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for their services while others bill by the hour. Some firms will require an initial retainer, which is a deposit that covers a set number of hours of work to be performed on your behalf. The firm will then either refund any unused funds or request additional funds to continue work on your matter.

Many people do not think about their estate until they are in a position where a plan needs to be created. The best time to do this is before a crisis occurs such as a serious illness, mental impairment or death. A properly prepared estate plan will avoid confusion, disputes and unnecessary expense for loved ones after your death.

The first step in creating an estate plan is a review of all assets, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, securities and grant deeds to real property. This will help determine the size of your estate and assist in the preparation of tax forms. It will also be important to consider the distribution of your assets after your death. An attorney will be able to guide you through the process of preparing the necessary legal documents.

It is a good idea to meet with several estate planning attorneys before choosing the one who is right for you. It is easy to find information about attorneys online, but the best way to judge an attorney’s suitability is to actually meet with them. This meeting does not need to be long or complicated, but it is a good opportunity to get to know the attorney and to see if you have a good rapport.

Lastly, you should ask the potential attorney about their knowledge of state-specific laws and their ongoing participation in continuing education seminars for estate planning law. Just like you would want your doctor to stay current on the latest medical advancements, you should expect the same from your lawyer.

Choosing the right attorney will ensure that your estate plan is fully executed to meet all legal requirements, and will protect you and your family from potential future problems. It is important to periodically review your estate plan, particularly after significant life changes such as births, marriages, divorces and deaths. A well-chosen attorney will take the time to understand your situation and create an individualized plan that will accomplish your goals.

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Long Beach, CA, 90807
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