How to Find a Good Estate Planning Attorney

When an individual passes away, they will leave behind personal and financial assets that must be distributed to their loved ones. Many people choose to work with a lawyer to ensure that their wishes are carried out by creating an estate plan. The process is complex and requires careful attention to detail to avoid any potential disputes after death. To help ease the process, an estate planning attorney can provide insight into various legal tools and how they can be utilized to meet an individual’s specific needs.

When searching for an estate planning attorney, individuals should ask a few questions to determine whether the professional is a good fit. For example, they should ask if the attorney has experience with the type of assets owned by the client. This is important because there are different rules for distributing certain types of assets. In addition, attorneys should be familiar with state and federal laws that affect the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

Individuals should also inquire about an estate planning attorney’s fees. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for the services they provide, while others charge an hourly rate. In addition, some attorneys may require a retainer to begin working on an estate plan. This sum covers the amount of time that the attorney will spend on the case and can be refundable if unused. Finally, some attorneys will use a combination of both flat fees and hourly rates to calculate their final bill.

Zimmet notes that a good estate planning attorney should welcome any questions and answer them thoroughly. They should not be condescending or talk in legalese that is difficult to understand. Additionally, they should make the client feel comfortable and not pressure them into signing any documents without fully understanding their meaning.

An individual should also ask an estate planning attorney about their education, training and experience in this field of law. For instance, an individual should find out how long the attorney has been practicing and whether they are a member of any professional organizations related to estate planning law. Additionally, they should ask the attorney about any past clients who can serve as a reference.

While talking with an estate planning attorney about these delicate issues may be uncomfortable, it is essential to do so. Those who do not take the time to review their own finances and plan ahead for their death risk leaving their family members with unnecessarily high costs. In addition, the simplest mistakes, such as misplacing information about assets or beneficiary designations on insurance policies and bank accounts can cause serious problems for families after an individual’s incapacity or death. An estate planning attorney can help avoid these problems by properly preparing legal documents and reviewing those documents regularly. They can also help the family locate and organize important paperwork and records and correct any errors in titles or beneficiary designations. This can save the family a great deal of time, money and stress in the future.

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