When you’re looking for an estate planning lawyer, you want someone who is knowledgeable and experienced. Choosing the right lawyer can make the process of estate planning easier, smoother and more successful. Here are some tips to help you choose the right estate planning lawyer for your needs.
1. Understand Your Needs
When you’re looking for a lawyer, you should first have a clear understanding of your needs. Think about what type of estate planning you need, and make sure you’re looking for a lawyer who specializes in that type of law. Do you need help with a will, trust, or other estate planning documents? Are you looking for someone to help you with the probate process? Knowing your needs before you start looking for a lawyer will save you time and help you narrow down your search.
2. Research Lawyers
Once you know what type of lawyer you need, do some research to find potential candidates. Ask friends and family for referrals or look online for reviews and ratings of local estate planning lawyers. Look for information about the lawyer’s qualifications and experience. Make sure the lawyer you choose is licensed in your state and has a good reputation.
3. Set Up a Consultation
Once you’ve identified a few potential lawyers, set up a consultation. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations, so take advantage of this to meet each lawyer and get a feel for their personality and professional approach. Ask questions about their experience and success rate, and find out if they have any specialties or areas of focus.
4. Check Credentials
Before you hire an estate planning lawyer, make sure to check their credentials. Check with your local bar association to make sure the lawyer is in good standing and has no disciplinary history. Also, look for any professional awards or recognition the lawyer has received.
5. Ask About Fees
Fees can vary significantly from lawyer to lawyer, so make sure to ask about fees upfront. Find out if they charge a flat rate or an hourly fee, and get a written fee agreement that outlines all costs. Make sure you understand all costs and fees before you hire the lawyer.
6. Ask About Availability
Estate planning can be a lengthy process, so it’s important to make sure the lawyer you choose is available to answer questions and provide guidance throughout the process. Ask about the lawyer’s availability and response time for emails and phone calls.
7. Look for Experience
When you’re choosing an estate planning lawyer, look for someone with experience in the field. Ask the lawyer how long they’ve been practicing estate planning law, and find out how many cases they’ve handled. You want to choose a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in this area of law.
8. Look for Communication Skills
A good estate planning lawyer should have strong communication skills. Ask the lawyer about their communication style, and make sure you feel comfortable talking to them. Estate planning can be a complicated process, so you want a lawyer who can explain things clearly and in a way that you can understand.
9. Get Referrals
If you know someone who has worked with an estate planning lawyer, ask them for a referral. Word-of-mouth referrals can be a great way to find a qualified lawyer, and hearing about someone else’s experience can help you make an informed decision.
10. Trust Your Intuition
Finally, trust your intuition. When you meet with a lawyer, take note of how you feel. Do you feel comfortable talking to them? Do they seem knowledgeable and experienced? Do you feel like they’re the right person to handle your estate planning needs? If your intuition tells you that the lawyer isn’t a good fit, keep looking.
Choosing the right estate planning lawyer can make the process of estate planning easier and more successful. Take your time to do your research and find the right lawyer for your needs. Consider the tips outlined here to ensure you’re making an informed decision.