10 Step-by-Step to Finding a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney

10 Step-by-Step to Finding a Qualified Estate Planning Attorney

To have your estate properly structured during your lifetime so as to achieve a simple and stress-free transfer when you die is the sole responsibility of an estate planning attorney. Some banks might offer to handle your will writing for you or recommend a solicitor but in the real sense of it, this is a decision you ought to take.

In today’s article, we will guide you on how to choose the most qualified estate planner. But before that, let’s discuss the definition of the term, estate planning lawyer.

Who is an Estate Planning Attorney?

An estate planner (or estate planning attorney) is a licensed attorney who specializes in end-of-life planning. 

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Ways to Find Qualified Estate Planning Attorney

1. Ask for Referrals from Friends and Family

Start by asking friends, family members, or colleagues if they have worked with an estate planning lawyer in the past. Many of them will be willing to recommend one based on their experience.

2. Check with Professional Organizations

Many bar associations and legal organizations maintain directories of attorneys in various practice areas, including estate planning. You can search for attorneys in your area through these organizations’ websites. 

3. Online Legal Directories

Websites like Avvo, Martindale-Hubbell, and LegalZoom have directories of attorneys, often with reviews and ratings from clients. You can search for estate planning attorneys in your location and read about their qualifications and reviews. You can take it a step further by visiting their physical office to know their mode of operation.

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4. Consult Different Financial Advisors for Recommendation

Financial advisors and accountants often work closely with estate planning attorneys and may be able to provide recommendations based on your financial situation. Most financial institutions are also willing to recommend will writing for you if they know you don’t have any. This will help to ensure a simple and stress-free transfer of your properties in the event of death.

5. Interview Attorneys

Once you have a list of potential attorneys, schedule consultations or interviews with them. Ask about their experience in estate planning, their approach to client relationships, and their fees. It’s essential to find an attorney you feel comfortable working with and who understands your specific needs. Ask for the downsides of estate planning and real-life stories that hardly make it to the media.

6. Check the Qualifications of the Estate Planning Attorney

Ensure that the attorney you choose is licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction and has experience in estate planning and related areas such as wills, trusts, and probate. Working with someone who’s not licensed is a huge risk.

7. Consider Specialization

Some attorneys specialize in specific aspects of estate planning, such as estate tax planning or business succession planning. Depending on your needs, you may want to find an attorney with expertise in the relevant areas.

8. Request References

Don’t hesitate to ask for references from past clients. Speaking with people who have worked with the attorney can give you insights into their competence and professionalism.

9. Fee Structure

Understand the attorney’s fee structure and how they bill for their services. Some attorneys charge flat fees for specific services, while others bill by the hour.

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10. Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, choose an attorney you trust and feel comfortable discussing your personal and financial matters with. Effective communication and a good working relationship are essential in estate planning.

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Remember that estate planning is a highly personalized process, and the right attorney for one person may not be the best fit for another. Take your time to research and meet with potential attorneys to find one who aligns with your goals and makes you feel confident in the estate planning process.

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