Choosing a good attorney for will and estate planning can be challenging. While death is an unfortunate fact of life that you can’t always control, you can manage what happens to your estate after you’re gone.
If you’re comfortable enough to plot what comes next, choosing a good attorney for a will and estate plan should move to the top of your list of priorities.
Let’s go over finding specialist will and estate planning attorneys and then move on to the questions to ask them to find the right one for you.
Choosing the Right Will and Estate Planning Attorney
When answering this question, it’s less about choosing a good attorney and more about choosing the right attorney for your specific needs.
Let’s go over a few things to help your mind think along the right path.
Choose a Specialist
While there are thousands of good attorneys to choose from, you can narrow your search by only selecting to work with a specialist will and estate planning attorney. By simply using this small hack alone, you can narrow your search considerably.
Sure, most lawyers you find will offer wills and estate planning as a service, but trusting your family’s future to anyone but a specialist should be low on your list. With an outcome as crucial as your will and estate plan, why would you risk working with anything but a specialist?
The main benefit to working with a specialist will and estate planning attorney is that they’re much more likely to be up to date with current laws. They’re also expected to be able to identify areas of your specific will which could be problematic for your family if their legalities are not handled correctly.
Request a Referral from an Attorney or Other Advisor
If you currently have worked with an attorney or other legal advisor you trust, then they’re the perfect place to start when looking for a specialist.
Professionals from whom to request a referral:
- Another attorney
- Financial advisor
- Certified Accountant
Another referral source is from friends or family who have had a positive experience working with their own attorney. Get in touch with people you trust. Have a candid conversation about experiences with their own attorney that they consider to have done a good job. You can rely on this referral just that little bit more, knowing that they’re not being paid to possibly refer work, like someone on the list above, maybe.
Don’t Limit Your Search by Your City/Town
If there’s been one advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been the way that most corporate workplaces have normalized remote working. As long as an attorney is licensed to work in your state, you no longer have to limit yourself to those with offices in your city.
Something that is especially important to consider if you live in a smaller town or regional center. Start by researching online and setting up a number of virtual meetings over Zoom.
In the next section of this guide to choosing a good attorney for will and estate planning, we go over the key questions to ask your prospects and these meetings are your chance.
Questions to Ask a Potentially Good Attorney
After you’ve created a shortlist potentially featuring the right will and estate planning attorneys for you, there are a few questions you need to know the answers to before making your final decision.
It’s imperative that your chosen attorney can handle your matter from the very beginning, and this list of questions will go a long way in helping you to make that final call.
Are you a Specialist Will and Estate Planning Lawyer?
Get straight to the point right off the bat. As we’ve established above, you only want to be working with a specialist will and estate planning attorney, so this has to be your first question. Look for an attorney who answers that this type of work is all they do and avoid generalists.
Have You had Clients in a Similar Situation to my own?
Dig into the attorney’s background. Ask about not only their education but, more importantly, the cases that they’ve taken in order to draw some comparisons on expected outcomes.
Encountering problematic cases in the past is normal and most probably a good thing. It shows their level of real-world experience in the field and is something to look out for in your chat.
How Much Are Your Legal Fees?
While money shouldn’t be a driving force in choosing the right attorney for you, the harsh reality is we all have a price point. Find out their legal fees and ensure that there aren’t going to be any surprises when it comes to billing for their service. Getting them to put their fee structure in writing, so everything is up-front and transparent is an excellent sign.
What is Your Expected Timeline and Availability?
Ask them questions about how long they expect your will and estate plan to take, as well as their availability.
Consider the tradeoffs between personalized service and the experience of the specific attorneys you’ll be working with. Ideally, you want an experienced senior lawyer who focuses on your area of law and who will oversee and direct the work delegated on your matter.
Final Thoughts on Choosing a Good Attorney for a Will and Estate Plan?
After reading this guide, you’re now one step closer to choosing not only a good attorney for will and estate planning but the right attorney for you.
You can feel comfortable in the fact that you’ve done all you can to limit the stress on your loved ones when the inevitable happens.