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Choosing an estate planning attorney is a big decision. An estate plan is not just for planning for your death; it allows you to choose who will take care of you or your assets if you get incapacitated. So, don’t rely on ads; ask for recommendations of a lawyer you can entrust yourself with all your property.
The Duration Of Practice
The best way to gain experience in estate planning is through practice. Find out how long an attorney has practiced estate and tax law. A professional who has been working for years has handled various cases.
Has the lawyer been disciplined by the state bar? You can check with your state’s bar association for any disciplinary charges against the attorney you intend to hire. If you visit the office, you will know if the lawyer portrays professionalism by handling your inquiries.
Does The Lawyer Have Malpractice Insurance?
Legal malpractice insurance is a sign of accountability. Anyone can make mistakes, including a lawyer. Legal malpractice insurance will cover financial injuries if something goes amiss. Ask for the insurance policy and make sure it is valid.
How About Updating Documents?
Most families sign legal documents and think all is done. But, if they die or a problem occurs, the family finds out that the documents are out of order or the property has issues. Wills and trusts are all living documents that must be examined and modified after some time. You need a lawyer who will keep everything updated and examine the paperwork. Make sure the estate planning attorney offers a subscription for legal, financial, and business advice, and not hourly fees.
Enquire If The Lawyer Offers Other Services
Hire a lawyer who specializes in estate planning law. But ensure they have more knowledge, not just drafting a will. A good attorney should also guide a client to make other legal decisions like planning for retirement, saving, or purchasing insurance. They will connect you with a trusted professional and follow up.
Does The Lawyer Have Good Reviews?
There is nothing good as gauging a real estate lawyer with what previous clients said about them. A professional with a five-star rating shows they are committed to clients. But it’s best not to rely on online reviews alone, as some may not be genuine. Ask your friends or family about the lawyer. You can also request a referee to be sure the lawyer is professional.
Does The Lawyer Have Good Communication Skills?
Unfortunately, most attorneys fail to communicate with clients regularly. After transactions, they assume everything is okay, and the client will call them if something occurs. Look for a lawyer who will interact with you at least monthly or so via email. How soon does the lawyer respond to calls or texts? You need a lawyer who has good communication and listening skills.
Check Membership In Professional Associations
A lawyer with membership in an organization like Estate Planning Counsel shows they are devoted to keeping up with estate planning developments. This means your lawyer will be up to date with the current happenings and changes in real estate planning. Professional organizations offer networking and ongoing education.
You should be sure you won’t get any unpleasant surprises. Some lawyers advertise flat fees but add charges like postage, couriers, telephone, photocopying, and other services. Although some charges are worth it, a lawyer should inform you of what to expect.
From start to completion, estate planning involves numerous endeavors. An estate planning attorney can help you devise a good strategy for your situation. A lawyer will also advise you on arranging your estate and having everything in order.