Are you one of the 60% of Americans that are neglecting their estate planning by not having a will? If so, what’s holding you back?
Maybe it is the fact that you need to find a lawyer to help you prepare the documents. Finding the right estate planning attorney can be daunting.
You don’t know where to start, or what to look for, or how much you should be charged. That’s where we come in. We have three tips to help you find the right attorney to help you create your estate plan.
There are a few ways you can go about looking for a reputable estate lawyer. Start by talking to your friends and family.
Have any of them hired an estate lawyer that they were happy with? You trust your friends and family for advice and input on other things in your life, so why not this?
If this doesn’t produce good results you can look online for ratings and reviews of others. Just keep in mind that people are much more likely to leave a review if they are unhappy than happy.
You can always contact your state’s bar association for a list of attorneys who provide estate planning services. Beyond the bar association, you can ask professionals that you currently work with for a recommendation.
Maybe you can ask your accountant? Or another lawyer that you have hired for other services.
When you have narrowed down your options meet with potential attorneys and get a feel for them. You want someone you feel comfortable working with.
The person you work with should instill confidence that they will get the job done. They should have your best interest in mind and be looking to protect your estate and wishes.
- While you are in the interview or consultation ask the lawyer a few questions.
- Where did they go to school?
- How long have they practiced estate planning?
- What is the best way to contact them? Is this their preferred method of communication?
- Will I work directly with you or someone else such as a paralegal?
- What is your rate?
- What fees are not included in the rate?
The way the lawyer answers the questions will tell you what it will be like to work with the lawyer. If they are evasive or unclear this is not a good sign.
It is important to know how much you can afford before you start looking for your attorney. Some will offer a free consultation, while others require payment.
Do not assume that a more expensive lawyer is automatically better. At the same time, do not blindly choose the cheapest option.
When comparing rates, keep in mind that attorneys will use different methods for their billing. One lawyer may charge a flat fee. While others will bill by the hour.
Keep in mind that the more complicated your estate planning, the more expensive the fees will be. So be sure to understand what the fee schedule is so you know what to expect.
Estate Planning Attorney
When you have the right estate planning attorney preparing your estate documents you can be confident that your wishes will be protected and carried out after your passing.
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