When it comes to estate planning, a quality attorney can make all the difference in creating comprehensive and legally binding documents that will ensure that assets are distributed according to an individual’s wishes upon death. In addition, the right attorney can help to protect personal property from creditors and taxes and minimize conflict among family members. A good estate planning attorney will have years of experience handling a variety of estates and can explain the different legal tools available to meet an individual’s specific needs.
Before choosing an attorney, individuals should ask several questions. First, they should find out if the attorney offers a free initial consultation. This will give them an opportunity to discuss their estate planning needs with the lawyer and see if they are a good fit for one another. During the consultation, it is important to discuss fees and how the attorney charges for his or her services. Many firms offer hourly rates, while others charge a flat fee or provide bundled services packages.
Individuals should also find out if the attorney has experience in the area of estate planning and how long they have been practicing law. They should also be able to provide information regarding their education, memberships in professional organizations and other areas of expertise.
It is also helpful to ask how the attorney stays current on changes in estate planning laws. It is vital that they are able to stay up-to-date on these changes in order to ensure that their clients’ estate plans are valid. Lastly, individuals should find out if the attorney has handled any similar cases to their own and whether or not they are able to provide references from past clients.
When searching for an estate planning attorney, it is essential that individuals seek referrals from trusted sources. Recommendations from friends, family members and colleagues are a great place to start. In addition, they can also check the attorney’s credentials by visiting their website or by contacting the local and state bar association.
A reputable estate planning attorney will take the time to listen to the client’s needs and answer any questions they may have. This is an important aspect of the process because a good relationship between the attorney and client is vital to ensure that all of the client’s goals are met.
When choosing an estate planning attorney, individuals should be wary of attorneys who use aggressive marketing tactics. In particular, they should avoid attorneys who claim to be “estate specialists.” These attorneys typically do not have the same level of experience and expertise as those who specialize in estate planning. In addition, they might not be well-versed in the specific laws in each state, which could negatively impact the final results of an estate plan. This could ultimately lead to litigation and costly mistakes for the client’s family. Moreover, they might not be able to effectively plan for incapacity or disability.