The right lawyer will have the experience to advise clients on preparing their affairs for incapacity and death. More often than not, you can find such a lawyer at a law firm that specializes in estate planning.
Why Do I Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Only an experienced estate planning lawyer will be able to assess your personal situation and recommend the best structure of estate planning for you. Such a lawyer will also be familiar with the laws in your state and create an estate plan that is sure to be valid. Standardize templates from a website cannot do that for you.
How Do I Find An Estate Planning Lawyer?
Luckily, there are many great resources available to help you find the right estate planning lawyer. Follow the steps below to ensure you hire the best lawyer for your case:
- Do Your Research: Take advantage of websites like Yelp, Google, and Martindale Hubbell to learn about law firms in your area. Read reviews from past clients and see how their peers rate them. Remember to visit the firm’s website.
- Request an Initial Consultation: Many lawyers offer free initial consultations to discuss your case. You are under no obligation to hire that particular lawyer. In fact, many people will “shop around”, booking initial consultations with a few lawyers before deciding who to hire.
- Ask Questions About Experience: During the initial consultation, ask questions about the lawyer’s background, including:
- How long have they been practicing?
- Do they also practice other areas of law? How much of their time is devoted to estate planning cases?
- How frequently do they handle cases like yours?
- Ask Questions About Your Case: Remember to ask the lawyer:
- What is their assessment of your estate?
- What do they need from you to create your estate plan?
- Will the law firm also handle asset management?
- Approximately how long will it take to create the estate plan?
- Who will retain the original documents?
- What happens after you sign the estate plan?
- What happens when you need to update your estate plan?
- Ask Questions About Case Management and Fees: It is important to know upfront how your case will be handled and what sort of fees are involved. Ask:
- Who are the people that will handle my case?
- Who will be the day-to-day contact? Is it best to call or send an email? Are drop-ins allowed at the office?
- How will progress reports be provided?
- How does the law firm bill?
- Are there non-lawyer fees involved?
- What are the future costs for maintaining the estate plan?
Beyond experience and competence, the right lawyer should instill confidence and make you feel comfortable. Choose a lawyer that meets these criteria and you will have chosen the right estate planning lawyer for you.