If you were to pull up Google right now and type “estate planning attorney near me,” into the search engine, the top three picks from your area would pop up. If you wanted to see a wider range, you could click “More Places”, and up to twelve options would appear on your screen. Some of the options might have good reviews, but you can’t know if an estate planning attorney near you will be a good fit until you consult with them yourself.
It is possible for you to find an honest and helpful estate planning attorney who will be on you and your family’s side, and who is interested in utilizing the law on your behalf, as long as you know what you should be looking for.
6 Tips for Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney Near You
When you are looking for a local estate planning attorney, keep the following criteria in mind. These 6 tips will lead you to the law firm that fits your estate planning needs:
1. Find a Specialist
Roughly how many estate plans does this attorney create each year? They should be able to give you an estimate off the top of their head. If it’s not a significant amount (we’d say fifty or more), then, although they may have knowledge of how to create an estate plan, they don’t specialize in this area of the law.
2. Find Someone Who Works on Estate Administration
Estate planning and estate administration are two sides of the same coin. To be proficient at one, an attorney needs to thoroughly understand both.
Estate administration requires the executor of an estate to distribute assets, pay remaining debts, etc. to close an estate when someone dies.
Many executors need legal help in administrating an estate because it can be a complicated process. Your estate planning attorney should understand estate administration so that he can effectively set up your plan to accomplish what you want after you’re gone, as well as help your Executor if they find they need assistance after your death.
3. Find Someone Who Listens and Understands Your Vision
Listening is common courtesy toward you as a potential client, and it is also the only way for an attorney to properly communicate your wishes through your estate planning documents.
If they aren’t listening, they are not seeing you as an individual who needs an estate plan tailored to your specific circumstances, they are not caring about your family, and they will do a subpar job drafting your documents.
4. Find Someone Who Lays Out Your Options
You need an estate plan specifically tailored to your needs because there is almost always more than one way to accomplish end-of-life goals. There are different legal devices that can give you options for transferring your assets in various ways, and not everyone will go about things with the same goals or vision. If an attorney insists you only have one option, that’s often a warning sign that he may not be willing to work with you in the way you want.
5. Find Someone Who Communicates Well
If an attorney cannot or will not communicate clearly to you, then they probably won’t communicate clearly in your documents. It’s as simple as that.
6. Find Someone Who Explains Their Pricing Clearly
We know of only two reasons an attorney wouldn’t tell you upfront what something costs. One, they don’t know (which means they haven‘t done what you are asking that frequently before). Two, they don’t want you to know. Both are scary, and both are good reasons not to use that estate attorney.
Finding The Right Estate Planning Attorney Is Worth Your Time
If you’re going to create a complete, legally binding, and comprehensive estate plan that is sure to accomplish your end-of-life goals, you will, without a doubt, need an estate planning attorney near you to step tackle the process of creating such a plan. If you use the guidelines above, we think you’ll be much more likely to find the one that you and your family need.
We’d love to meet you and see if we’re the right estate planning firm for you. Click here to chat with our team.