Are you completely sure your assets would pass to the right people?
If you don’t have an estate plan, you’re leaving this up to chance! While you might not want to think about passing away, visiting with an estate planning lawyer, and getting your documents in order is the responsible thing to do.
Not sure how to find an estate planning lawyer? You’re in luck!
1. Understand What an Estate Planning Lawyer Does
Before you start looking for any type of professional, it’s helpful to understand exactly what you should expect them to do for you. While most people think estate planning means drawing up a final will, there’s actually a lot more to it than that.
A good estate planning lawyer will also help you plan for what would happen if you were physically or mentally incapacitated. Estate planning is a very personal process, so your attorney should be willing to take the time to learn about your family dynamics and your wishes.
While it’s critical for your estate planning attorney to have plenty of technical knowledge, they should also be able to clearly explain your options to you and guide you towards a decision that fits your intended outcomes. In addition, your attorney should have some tax and financial knowledge, particularly if you have a large estate.
2. Ask for Recommendations
While you could just go to Google and search “Estate planning lawyer near me,”
Instead, start by asking family and friends if they have an estate planning attorney they would recommend. If you’re not comfortable doing this, look towards a trusted advisor, like your financial professional, tax provider, or even your physician. It’s a great idea to keep asking until you have a list of at least three names, then you can do some more research before choosing the right lawyer for your needs.
3. Look for a Specialist
Estate planning is complex and technical, so you really want to choose an attorney that truly specializes in it.
This makes inquiring about specialization one of the most important questions to ask an estate planning lawyer. A lawyer who is a general practitioner might not have the knowledge and experience to properly assist you Look for a lawyer who dedicates their practice to estate planning and who is well-versed in the most up-to-date laws in your state.
4. Schedule a Personal Consultation
Although working with an estate planning lawyer shouldn’t feel intimidating, it is a very personal interaction. For this reason, you’ll want to meet with potential candidates in person, or at least speak.
The attorney you choose should ask many questions that are designed to help them understand you, your family, and your wishes. If they don’t seem interested in you personally or you feel rushed, then they’re likely not a good choice for you.
It’s also important to note that your estate planning attorney does more than just create your legal documents. You’ll also want to choose someone you can trust to serve as a counselor for your family when it’s time to execute the documents you create.
5. Remember You Get What You Pay For
when it’s time to hire an estate planning attorney, you don’t want to cut corners. Choosing the cheapest attorney you can find, or – even worse – trying to create your documents yourself, is almost always a mistake.
If there’s a problem with your documents, there’s a good chance it won’t be discovered until it’s too late.
Many attorneys will charge a flat fee to create your documents. Some prefer to work by the hour, but it’s often best to negotiate a single fee for all of the documents you need. Many experienced lawyers are open to this since they already have a firm grip of the approximate amount.
Make Smart Moves in 2021
Creating your estate documents is not as morbid or stressful as you might think. And once it’s done, the peace of mind it will bring you is well worth it.
If you’re ready to take care of some other nagging tasks this year, you’re in the right place. Our blog is full of tips for dealing with legal issues, your finances, and more! Take a look through a few more of our articles today!