Are you thinking of drafting your last will or testament? Perhaps you want someone to help you draft a durable power of attorney or set up a trust. If so, then an estate planning attorney is invaluable.
As humans, there is one eventuality we can’t escape from; death. You’ve worked so hard all your life to accumulate the wealth your own. And even when you aren’t there, you want to ensure your family and assets are well taken care of.
Thus, you need an estate planning attorney to help draft a secure estate plan in case of your death or incapacitation. These attorneys are adept in counseling about estate planning. Also, they help clients write wills, set up trusts, advise on tax-beneficial plans and more.
However, not any estate planning attorney is the right option for you. The wrong choice of an attorney can have disastrous results. This includes selecting unqualified beneficiaries, executors or improper set up of trusts.
When choosing an estate planning lawyer, hit the nail on the head. But with the numerous options out there, how do you pick the best lawyer? Here are key tips to consider when choosing the best estate planner.
Determine Your Needs
Before beginning your search for an estate planning attorney, know why you are looking for one. Make a list of your specific needs and goals for your estate plan. By clearly understanding your endgame, it’s easier to find someone to help.
- Are you in need of:
- Writing your entire estate plan from scratch?
- Are you updating or revising the existing plan?
- Designate beneficiary or set up guardianship?
- Advice on how to eliminate or reduce future tax liabilities for beneficiaries and/or estate
- Set up and fund a trust?
Ask For Recommendations
Chances are your friends, family, or colleagues have or are working with an estate planning attorney. And if they have, ask them for recommendations. Your inner circle can offer one or two names of reputable and local estate planning attorneys in the field.
Also, they offer crucial tips on how to work and select the best attorney depending on their own experience. In addition, you get peace of mind knowing these names are from people you trust and whom you share goals and values in life.
However, what worked for a close friend or family member may not work for you. Don’t make their recommendations your final choice. Carry out a background check to determine if they meet your specific needs.
In case no one in your inner circle has worked with an estate planning attorney, check online. With a quick search on ‘estate planning lawyers near me’, rest assured to find multiple results. From the numerous results, filter to pick a few names.
With an online search, be sure to find a licensed estate planning attorney who understands the local law. Remember, estate planning laws vary depending on the state. Thus pick an attorney who is up-to-date with the state-specific laws of your state.
Before settling with an estate planning attorney, check on how long they have been in practice. When making your decision, you can’t afford to hire an inexperienced attorney.
It would help if you had a well-established attorney who has been in practice for years. Such an attorney has extensive experience in dealing with different aspects of estate planning. Also, you expect them to be up to date with the existing estate planning law in your state.
Also, an experienced attorney has served numerous clients, and through the years, they have learnt the best practices in the field. They know the tips to ensure your beneficiaries or estate get maximum benefits from what you leave behind. For instance, they can advise you on reducing or even eliminating taxes or dealing with creditors.
Don’t forget to check on the certifications of the attorney. Do they have a law degree from a recognized institution followed by specialized training? Also, check if they are members of the National Association of Estate Planners and Council (NAEPC).
Have they received any awards or trophies in the field due to their excellent work? Asking these questions can help you to get a highly experienced estate planning attorney.
Also, find the best law firm, such as willcontesting.com.au who can help with will contesting.
Check on Reputation
It’s important to know what other clients are saying about the attorney before choosing them. What’s their experience working with the potential estate planning lawyer? To avoid falling into a trap, get the info right from the horse’s mouth.
Check through the attorney’s website and read testimonials from past or current clients. However, most of the testimonials you come across here will all be positive. This is why we should advance to a third-party review website such as Yelp.
Read the reviews left by clients to get insights about the experience of working with the attorney. It’s normal to come across both positive and negative reviews depending on individual experience. However, if the criticisms outdo the positive reviews, avoid them and move to the next.
Also, check if there is any complaint filed against the attorney on Better Business Bureau.
If not yet convinced, reach out to the attorney and ask for referrals. You want them to provide you with details of their clients to talk to them. Reach out to them and ask about their own experience.
If they are not working with the attorney anymore, ask why. For the current clients, ask if they are happy with the services they are getting. Can they advise you to opt for the same attorney?
Use These Tips to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney
While estate planning can seem hard, it doesn’t have to be. Finding the right estate planning attorney can help streamline the process to ensure you have a confident plan. However, only a reputable and experienced estate planning attorney can deliver this.
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Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.