This article is aimed at our American readers and may not apply to our readers in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other territories.
Estate planning is a legal process that involves different things like will writing and stating how you would like your wealth to be distributed after your death. Furthermore, an estate plan clarifies who will be responsible for handling your estate in the event of incapacitation. Writing an estate plan can be a complicated process, and why many people believe in the do-it-yourself approach, it’s always best to hire a lawyer.
If you decide to draft your plan without a solid legal background, this might lead to emotional and financial consequences that your surviving family members will have to deal with. Even the simplest mistakes can ruin the entire estate plan, and this can confuse the family members and strain their relationships. Therefore, it is best to hire a lawyer who can write a foolproof estate plan for you. However, finding the best attorney can be a daunting task. To make things easier for you, we’ve listed the qualities you should look for when hiring an estate planning lawyer.
Area of Specialty
The legal fraternity is so broad, and it is not a one-size-fits-all in different areas of practice. You should make sure that the lawyer you choose specializes in estate planning and they have a sound understanding of this area of law. Some people may claim to specialize in estate planning, but they also operate in business law and real estate. You need to be wary of these people since they may lack the requisite experience and knowledge to understand different elements of estate planning. They may also fail to design a customized estate plan that suits your needs.
Therefore, it is crucial to conduct some background checks to establish if the attorney is specialized in estate planning. It is important to check with your state bar website to make sure that the lawyer is licensed and they have no outstanding issues. You must also try to establish the law firm’s social media accounts and its official website for information related to estate planning services.
Experienced estate planning lawyers help individuals and families with will drafting, asset protection, probate, and more. The Atlanta-based attorneys at https://www.atlantaestatelawcenter.com/ explain that estate planning lawyers provide technical expertise to help individuals secure their dependents’ financial future. They also act as counselors to the families, to prevent inheritance disputes. Experienced attorneys also help the clients understand the different roles of guardians and trustees and advise them on the best decisions for their surviving family members.
You can also use referrals from friends and family members if you want to get a competent attorney. If a lawyer reaches the stage of getting referrals, it means that they have a good reputation in their practice. A financial advisor can also be a great source of information since they work with estate planning lawyers. These advisors usually know some lawyers they can refer their clients to depending on individual needs.
Understand the Attorney’s Fees
The fees for estate planning depend on elements like the complexity of your needs, the attorney’s experience level, and your location. The amount that you can spend varies from about $100 to thousands depending on what you want your estate plan to cover. Having a will and a trust drafted can cost you thousands of dollars, so you need to consult the lawyer first before you hire them. Other lawyers offer a free consultation for first-time visits while others charge a flat fee. If you find an attorney who charges a flat fee, you should ask what the cost includes and also check if it includes multiple visits. Additionally, try to establish if the fee covers any future updates.
When selecting an estate planning lawyer, you should also ask if the practice has support staff to help the clients with different issues. The law firm should have an experienced team that is readily available to provide timely communication to the clients. The support team should also ensure a quick turnaround of the documents to people. Other individuals may be interested in working with a large law firm. They know that someone will always be there to take over should anything happen to their attorney. Dedicated lawyers and their support staff are committed to going the extra mile in helping the clients achieve their needs.
Devising an estate plan may seem simple at first, but it is a complicated process that requires extensive legal knowledge. You need to choose an attorney who specializes in this area of the law after checking their experience, reputation, and availability. Referrals and client reviews can also help you make an informed decision when choosing an estate planning attorney.