The right attorney for your family is out there—here’s how to identify your needs and start your search for the best fit
Estate planning isn’t the most pleasant topic or discussion point, but it’s an important one, as it protects your legacy and loved ones long after you are gone. Because it’s so uncomfortable to have these conversations, searching for an experienced attorney who can help you put together a solid estate plan can feel intimidating. Fortunately, there are ways to find the best possible lawyers for your family’s specific needs in the right location. Read on for our advice:
Identify Your Needs
Before starting your search, it’s important to understand exactly what you would like to accomplish with your estate plan. This will help you better determine if you are suited for a generalist attorney who can help draft a will, powers of attorney and basic trusts, or a specialist, who might focus on international estate planning and elder law. Families, for instance, may seek out legal help from a practice that focuses on estate planning for families. In any instance, taking the time to think through your needs upfront can help you narrow down the search later on.
Start Your Search
While recommendations from family and friends are a safe place to start, there are some additional resources available for finding the best estate planning attorney in your state. Start by asking your financial advisor for a referral, as many advisors view estate planning as an important part of helping their clients achieve overall financial wellness. You can also ask your accountant to recommend estate planning lawyers in your area, as they generally work closely with them due to their direct access to their clients’ financial information.
If you have already worked with an attorney to buy a home or set up your business, you can always ask that an individual refer you to more qualified estate planning attorneys in the area. If that is not an option, contact your state or local bar association, as they have a list of members in specific practice areas and can be of assistance.
Interview Top Candidates
Once you’ve considered your needs, done your research and identified a few estate attorneys you would like to speak with further, begin scheduling meetings with your top candidates. To help you find the right attorney for your needs, consider asking the following questions:
- How long have you been practicing?
- What is your specific experience in dealing with trusts and estates?
- What is your preferred method of communication?
- Will you be my point of contact or will someone else?
- Will you send me updates about the status of my plan?
- How will you charge, and what is your rate? What exactly is included in your rate? How will I be billed?
While every situation is different, asking questions like these can provide you with enough information to decide which attorney is the best fit for you and your family.
Schedule your complimentary estate planning consultation with our team of experienced estate planning attorneys. The ALA team will work with you one-on-one to determine your personal goals and goals for the redistribution of your estate after you are gone.