How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney

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Part of completing your estate plan is choosing an attorney to walk you through the process and execute the documents involved. To get started choosing an attorney to help you through the process, here are some pointers and best practices to follow.

General Tips on Finding an Estate Planning Attorney

To begin, there are a few general tips to follow when starting the search for an estate planning attorney.

Get referrals

A great place to start is to look for referrals. For example, you might try asking the following individuals for recommendations on estate planning lawyers:

  • Your accountant
  • Your financial adviser
  • Other attorneys you’ve worked with

In addition, you might also be able to contact your local or state bar association to get referrals for estate planning lawyers in your area.

Look for specialists

It’s generally preferable to choose someone who specializes in estate planning since they’ll be more familiar with recent changes in laws, best practices, and so forth. Keep in mind that firms will employ multiple attorneys who various practice areas. Each attorney will usually have a few areas they focus on in particular, and those areas may overlap in ways that allow them better help you.

Interview candidates

As you get a list together and schedule consultations, you’ll need to get some questions together to interview each one. Doing so will help you make the most informed decision possible on who to choose for your estate planning needs.

Questions to Ask Candidates

When you find some solid candidates to prepare your estate plan, it’s important to ask some questions so you know what to expect from them. These questions provide a good starting point:

  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Do you execute the plan as well as draft it up?
  • What experience do you have with estate taxes?
  • What is your model for fees?
  • Will you send documents to me to review?
  • How long will it take?
  • Who’s my point of contact if you’re not available?

Their answers to these questions should provide you with a clear picture of how well they will be able to help you.

Qualities to Look for in an Estate Planning Lawyer

As you interview your prospects, you’ll want to keep an eye out for specific qualities. These include:

Solid communication

Communication is vital in any legal relationship. Pay attention to how transparent the lawyer is when answering your questions as well as how clearly they’re able to communicate concepts related to your estate plan.

Focused expertise

Naturally, your attorney should be experienced in estate planning. Make note of how long they’ve been practicing as well as how successful they’ve been in helping others achieve their goals.

Good to work with

Estate planning can be an emotionally complex process, so you’ll need to be comfortable with the attorney you choose. Pay attention to how you feel when talking to the attorney. After all, you’ll be working with them for some time since estate planning is not a one-and-done process. The best candidate will be easy for you to work with.

If you are searching for an estate planning attorney, we at Hart David Carson LLP provide free consultations during which we can answer any questions you may have. For more information, contact us today.

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