Estate planning is an overly sensitive matter that requires your utmost diligence, deliberation, and decisiveness. A little professional help is necessary to navigate the convoluted field of estate law. That’s why most people resort to hiring an estate planning attorney to be their guiding light.
However, finding the right lawyer for estate planning is easier said than done. With the myriad of options available, picking the right one from the bunch can be a tad overwhelming. The problem most folks make is basing their decision purely on advertising or lawyer fees.
When looking for a lawyer to help with your estate planning, it’s imperative to follow due diligence and find the best lawyer for your situation. If you’re stuck with picking the best lawyer to help you with planning your estate, we’re here to help.
In today’s post, we’ll be highlighting some crucial factors you need to consider when picking an estate lawyer for the best results.
The Lawyer’s Estate Planning Experience
The first thing you need to look out for is the lawyer’s experience in estate planning. As mentioned above, estate law is a complex branch of law, and you’ll need a lawyer with a considerable amount of experience to help you out.
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Keep in mind there’s no single law that prohibits a lawyer from calling themselves estate planners. That means even lawyers with zero experience in estate planning can brandish the tag. Given the sensitive nature of estate planning, hiring a lawyer that’s winging it almost always works to your detriment.
If you have a small to medium sized estate, three to five years of experience should do just fine. If you have a large estate, look for at least seven to ten years of experience. Before moving any further with your estate planning lawyer, be sure to ask them about their experience in estate planning.
If the Lawyer Practices Estate Planning Exclusively
As mentioned earlier, lawyers can label themselves estate planners when they have no clue about estate planning. Some lawyers, on the other hand, only do estate planning as something on the side.
When looking for an estate planner, try to find one that specializes in estate planning specifically. Such lawyers are well versed in estate law matters and have made crucial connections that’ll prove helpful in your estate planning.
While you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss lawyers who handle multiple facets of law, finding one that deals with estate law exclusively works for the best. Also, be sure to check out the lawyer’s references and reviews to make sure you’re in the right hands.
Does the Lawyer Have Malpractice Insurance
Malpractice insurance is a type of insurance common with lawyers and clients that protects them from legal action by their clients in malpractice cases. Malpractice insurance is a show of accountability and professionalism for lawyers.
Unfortunately, malpractice insurance for lawyers isn’t mandatory in some states. That means you’ll have to ask your lawyer if they carry the insurance.
Steer clear from any lawyer that doesn’t have malpractice insurance. If they don’t care enough about their client to have malpractice insurance, you’re better off with another lawyer.
The Law School the Lawyer Attended
This might seem like a non-issue, but the law school the attorney attended is pretty essential. Top-tier law schools have high standards and only accept the brightest applicants. The law school lawyers went to go hand in hand with their legal acumen and sometimes even their work ethic.
Although this shouldn’t be a major consideration, be sure to inquire about the school the attorney attended.
Is the Lawyer Conversant With the Power of Attorney Document
Power of attorney is a legal document that permits a principal to act on your behalf should you pass away or become incapacitated. Of course, the principal should always put your interests before theirs and any others. That’s why you should always find a lawyer that’s trustworthy if you choose to take this path.
This document comes in handy should the unexpected happen before you finish planning your estate. If you don’t trust the lawyer, you can always have a relative or trusted friend handle the affair. A lawyer well versed with the document will guide you through the process so that everything works out in the end.
How Does the Lawyer Charge for Services
Of course, the cost of service is a crucial factor when deciding on a lawyer for your estate planning. You don’t want to hire a lawyer you can’t afford. Alternatively, you don’t want to hire a lawyer that’s too cheap because you might get what you pay for.
Comparing lawyer fees is a great approach when choosing a lawyer based on cost. Explore your options and find one that’s within your budget. Some lawyers are open to negotiation, but not all of them.
Aside from the actual cost, also consider how the lawyer charges. Does the lawyer charge an hourly rate or do they charge a one-off flat fee? See how these modes of payments align with your plan and pick the lawyer with the best-suited plan.
The Lawyer’s Interest in Your Situation
A lot of lawyers out there are only in it for the cash. That’s why you need to ask yourself if the lawyer is truly interested in your situation. You don’t want a lawyer that handles your estate planning like a by-the-way.
See whether the lawyer is concerned about what you want to accomplish by the end of the process. A good lawyer should offer useful suggestions and give crucial insights on the entire matter. If you don’t get more than a few calls from your lawyer from time to time, maybe the lawyer isn’t interested in your situation, and you should find another one.
You Deserve the Best Lawyer for Estate Planning
The above information should come in handy next time you need a lawyer for estate planning. Remember not to choose a lawyer based on advertising and experience only. Instead, make sure the lawyer checks all the boxes before signing an agreement.
For more insightful content, check out the other articles on this blog.