It is important to have a good estate planning attorney.
Hiring an estate planning attorney is an important decision.
People should not enter into this professional relationship lightly.
Asking for recommendations from family, friends, or other professionals can be a good place to start.
Whether you find options through recommendations or a web search, you should browse reviews and ratings.
After all, it is hard to “hide” on the internet.
Two trusted online attorney directories are avvo.com and lawyers.com.
There you will be able to compare attorney credentials and experience, compare their independent ratings, and read actual client testimonials.
According to a recent The Baltimore Post-Examiner article titled “5 Questions to Ask an Estate Planning Attorney,” some estate planning attorneys have a free consultation.
During this consultation or over the phone, you can ask questions to help you determine if the attorney will be a good fit.
What are good questions to ask?
Do you practice estate planning exclusively?
Estate planning involves addressing a variety of laws and family dynamics.
Having an attorney who focuses his or her law practice on estate planning is crucial.
This attorney will be better equipped to know and address changes to laws affecting estate planning.
How many years have you practiced estate planning law?
Some attorneys who focus on estate planning are fairly new to the practice area.
More years of experience means more opportunities for estate planning attorneys to handle challenges.
Common estate planning issues include disinheriting family members, navigating blended family dynamics, or preempting will contests.
You want an attorney who has a “been there and done that” t-shirt.
Does the attorney provide reviews periodically?
Estate planning is usually not a single action.
As life changes, your estate plan will need to change with it.
Having the option to review your documents with your estate planning attorney allows you to better address changes in a timely manner.
Can you create a comprehensive estate plan?
A comprehensive estate plan involves more than a simple last will and testament.
It often also includes coordinating life insurance policies, last wills, powers of attorney, and trusts.
An experienced estate planning attorney is typically capable of addressing all of these facets.
What is your fee?
Some attorneys charge by the hour.
Others have a flat fee.
Still, others use a hybrid of these two.
It is helpful to talk with an attorney who is upfront about their pricing.
Following these steps can set you up to find an experienced and reputable estate planning attorney to create a plan to meet the needs of you and your family.
Reference: Baltimore Post-Examiner (Jan. 24, 2023) “5 Questions to Ask an Estate Planning Attorney”