How to Find an Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning attorney helps you plan your future by creating legal documents to ensure your wishes are carried out after your death or if you become incapacitated. These attorneys specialize in federal and state laws related to wills, trusts and probate. They may also have specialties in areas like assisting business owners with succession plans. They can help you create a plan that minimizes estate taxes and ensures your assets are properly cared for, according to your preferences.

Finding the right attorney can be a challenge, but there are many factors to consider, including price, location and experience. A good place to start is by asking friends and family for recommendations. You should also check out their websites to learn more about the attorney and his or her practice, which will provide you with a sense of whether they are a good fit for your needs. In addition, you can ask about the lawyer’s fee rates, which will vary from attorney to attorney and from state to state.

The cost of estate planning can also vary depending on your specific situation and what kind of documents you need to draft. Some attorneys offer flat fees for simple estate planning documents, while others will charge by the hour. Most attorneys will require you to pay a retainer before they begin work on your case, which is an amount that covers a set number of hours that the firm will charge for their services. They will either refund any unused funds or ask for additional money if the amount spent on your case exceeds the initial retainer.

During the consultation process, you should provide your attorney with detailed information about your finances and what property you own. You should also be prepared to answer questions about your family and what you hope to accomplish with your estate plan. Your attorney will then review your goals and recommend the best way to achieve them. This can include drafting a will, setting up various trust options and giving you advice on how to minimize taxation.

An experienced estate planning attorney can be a valuable resource for anyone, but it is especially important if you have significant assets or if your family members have special needs. In some cases, government programs like Medicaid can claim some of your assets after your death to recoup payments made for your long-term care. An estate attorney can help you appoint a guardian for your children and protect your assets by creating a special needs trust.

Although it is a difficult subject to discuss, talking with your family members about what you want to happen after your death can be a beneficial way to avoid uncertainty and conflict. An estate attorney can guide you through these conversations in a comfortable and supportive environment. Zimmet notes that your attorney should welcome all of your questions and provide answers in a way that you understand fully, rather than using legalese that you can’t translate.

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