The task of finding an estate planning attorney may seem daunting and difficult to think about. The whole process of estate planning, in fact, may feel daunting—it forces you to contemplate the delicate financial matters that will arise upon your death. However, those financial matters are important, thus it is even more important to make sure your assets are managed prudently. With a clear plan and the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney, this process is simpler—and much more painless—than you think.
But…how to choose the right estate planning attorney for you? Here are some tips to streamline the process and find a qualified attorney who you will feel confident working with:
Searching for Candidates
Understanding what you need to accomplish with your estate will help steer you towards the right type of attorney. Most people need a generalist who can help draft wills, powers of attorney, and establish trusts. There may be some situations that call for attorneys with certain specializations, however. For instance if you require legal work in multiple states or if you have financial interests overseas. Once you know what type of attorney you require, you can begin to build a list of candidates.
Start looking in to the backgrounds of the attorneys on your list. Find out where they were educated and how long they have been practicing. Look on their websites to determine information about the law firm they work for. Confirm their state bar registration status. Also, take a look at their social media sites and peer reviews. Using this wealth of information may give you a sense of what it will be like to work with them.
Feeling comfortable with your attorney is a very important part of the process. Estate planners will need to ask extremely personal questions, and will be there for you during difficult times. If you cannot build a good rapport with your attorney, you may never be able to develop a truly open line of communication with them.
So, narrow your list of candidates down and take the time to meet with them face-to-face. Come prepared to ask them questions. A few things you may want to find out are:
• How will the attorney communicate with you?
• Will the attorney be your point of contact, or will it be a paralegal?
• How will the attorney charge you, and what is their rate (hourly vs. fixed)
• What is their timeline for preparing the documents?
• Where does the attorney store original wills and other original instruments?
After you’ve interviewed your prospective candidates, choose the one that fits best with your needs. At this point, the attorney will draft a contract that identifies the terms of their services and they will help you craft your estate plan.
Estate planning is highly personal and emotionally-charged. Finding a lawyer who can support your needs—both legally and emotionally—is important. When you make the right connection with an estate planning attorney, the entire process of planning your estate becomes so much less daunting.
And don’t forget…once you have established a working relationship with your estate attorney, consider revisiting your plan every few years, or anytime you experience a life-changing event.
Get to Know Attorney James M. Miskell
Estate planning attorney James M. Miskell is known throughout Atlanta, GA for his compassionate approach to estate and elder law. Join him at any of his free estate planning workshops and become eligible for a free consultation, or simple contact him using the form below. Get started with your estate plan, and gain peace of mind today.