Before hiring an estate planning attorney, ask yourself the following questions: What is your personal situation? Does your situation require a specialized attorney? Will you be more satisfied with an attorney with another specialty? Although all attorneys are required to pass the bar exam to practice law in their state, not all of them are experts on estate planning. Check out the websites of state bar associations and county bar associations to find a list of estate planning attorneys. You can also read advertisements on TV for estate planning attorneys.
The San Diego County Bar Association and North County Bar Association both have lawyer referral services. These organizations list attorneys in particular specialties on a rotating basis. These organizations do not make judgments about individual lawyers and are a way to connect people with attorneys who are members in good standing. To get the best lawyer for your needs, contact a local bar association, which has a directory of attorneys. The membership fee is modest, but you can save up to 15% on your attorney’s services.
Interview several attorneys, and choose the one you feel most comfortable with. Ask about their communication skills and experience. If they seem competent and responsive, you’re probably onto a winner. Also, if they seem eager to do the job, trust your instincts. Remember that a lawyer’s experience and expertise should go hand in hand with the quality of his or her communication skills. Ask if the attorney you’re considering has staff that will do the work for you.
Determine the fee structure. You can choose to pay an attorney by the hour, but you must understand what a flat fee is. An hourly fee is more likely to be less expensive than a flat rate. However, the attorney’s fee may be higher than the retainer. It is important to find out how much a plan will cost, and whether you’ll need to pay a fee every time it changes.
Know what your budget is. Price is a major consideration when choosing an attorney. Make sure your budget is adequate for the legal services that you need. Some attorneys offer free consultations for a limited time, while others charge after an hour. Be sure to ask about their fees before committing to any services. Be sure to consider your budget when choosing an estate planning attorney. A few attorneys will give a free consultation, but you’ll likely have to pay once the consultation ends.
The area of expertise. Many attorneys claim to specialize in estate planning. Some have extensive experience, while others may be merely generalists. However, choosing an attorney who specializes in estate planning will ensure a comprehensive understanding of the area of law, current trends, and potential problems. The knowledge of the area will be helpful in drafting your estate plan. If you have a complicated situation involving multiple heirs, you’ll want a lawyer with extensive experience in estate planning.
What areas of law should an estate planning attorney specialize in? Whether you need assistance with naming beneficiaries, setting up guardianship, or reducing future tax liabilities, an estate planning attorney can help you. Referrals from friends and family are helpful, as well. A trusted attorney will provide peace of mind and make you feel confident about the decisions you’re making. So, when searching for an estate planning attorney, remember that recommendations are important.
Do you have a long life? A lawyer with extensive experience should be able to address your long-term health care needs, as long-term health conditions increase the probability of serious illness and disability. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney will make sure your wishes are carried out after your death. You should consider your life expectancy and the age of your family when choosing an estate planning attorney. A will is a legal document that directs how your assets are distributed after you die. Your will can control who gets what and who manages the estate.
An estate planning attorney should be familiar with both wills and trusts. A trust, on the other hand, is a legal arrangement in which property is held for the benefit of another person. The creator of a trust designates a trustee, who will manage the trust assets and distribute them to the intended beneficiary. This attorney can also assist with drafting other legal documents. In some cases, an attorney will draft a trust on your behalf.