How to Find an Estate Planning Attorney: The Only Guide You Need
The number of lawyers in the country has grown by 15% in the past decade. When you’re searching for the one lawyer your need, it can feel like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack.
Don’t worry! With this guide, you’ll have everything you need to find the best estate planning attorney in the area.
Finding the right lawyer takes more than a quick search online. Typing “estate planner near me” into Google is only a starting point. With these tips, you can find a qualified lawyer who will keep your best interests in mind.
Ready to start your search? Discover the best attorneys who specialize in wills with these tips.
Ask Friends and Family
To start your search, speak with the people you already trust. There’s a chance a friend, family member, or coworker hired a great estate planning attorney in the past. Ask around and see if they worked with someone they’d gladly recommend.
As you speak with friends and family members, try to get as much information about their experience as possible. Was the estate planning attorney helpful in getting their affairs in order? Were they satisfied with the help they received?
What issues did they experience during the process? Feel free to ask about how those issues were resolved, too.
Don’t rush to call the first estate planning lawyer you hear about. Instead, use this step as a starting point. Some of our future tips will help you learn how to choose an attorney from the bunch.
Speak with Other Lawyers
There are over 204,742 estate lawyers and attorneys in the country. Instead of choosing one at random, speak with someone who knows lawyers: another lawyer!
Did you hire a lawyer with a different specialty in the past? Ask the other lawyers you’ve worked with if they have any recommendations.
For example, you might have worked with a business lawyer in the past. If you trust them, you likely trust their judgment. Ask if they work at a firm with an estate planner on retainer.
If they don’t, they can likely point you in the direction of someone who specializes in estate planning.
Check the State Bar Association
When looking for a lawyer, you want to make sure they’re listed on your local state bar association website. Use your shortlist of potential lawyers and take a look. Are they listing?
The bar association website will provide a list of practicing lawyers. If a lawyer you’re researching isn’t registered, scratch them off your list.
Finding a registered estate planning attorney will give you peace of mind you’re choosing a professional.
Before choosing a lawyer from your shortlist, make sure to complete your research. You want to find a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced. You also want to make sure they have specialized expertise regarding estate planning.
An estate planning attorney doesn’t need separate certifications. However, finding a lawyer who values their own expertise can work to your advantage. Try to find someone who is also a(n):
- Accredited estate planner
- Chartered trust and estate planning
- Certified trust and financial planner
Finding someone who has these certifications will give you peace of mind you’re choosing someone with the expertise you need.
Explore Online Reviews
If you want to learn more about what it’s like to work with a specific attorney, speak with the people who already have.
Head online to find reviews from each lawyer’s previous clients. Most law firms feature reviews from their clients on their own websites.
However, don’t let one or two negative reviews turn you off completely to a lawyer.
Instead, look for major red flags. If you read a ton of negative reviews, you might want to choose someone else.
You can also head to the Better Business Bureau website to research a law firm.
Ask About Experience
When choosing attorneys who specialize in wills, you want to select someone with plenty of experience. To start, determine how long
they’ve practiced law.
The best way to improve at a lawyer (or in any skill) is through time and practice. Look for someone who has specialized in this form of law for an extended period of time.
Remember, there are different forms of law an attorney can choose from. Make sure you look for will and estate lawyers that have plenty of experience in the field. A lawyer who jumps between specialties might lack the specific expertise you need.
Their previous experience can work to your benefit.
Calculate the Costs
When choosing between different estate planning attorneys, it’s important to make sure you can afford their fees. Ask about the lawyer’s fees before you sign a contract.
Some lawyers only ask you to pay for their fees if they win a trial. In the case of will and estate lawyers, you’ll likely end up working on a retainer. Ask how the lawyer plans on charging you for their services before you begin working with them.
How much is their hourly rate?
Make sure to remain wary of a lawyer who asks for a large sum of money upfront. Instead, you want to find a lawyer who is honest about their services and the costs from the get-go.
Schedule a Consultation
Once you’ve narrowed down your list even further, call each attorney and schedule a consultation. Make sure you’re comfortable around them.
Are they honest and upfront about their services and skill set? Do they make you feel uncomfortable? Look for someone you feel like you can trust.
During the consultation, ask every question on your mind. This is a chance to learn more about the attorney’s skills and expertise.
Ask about how many years they’ve worked as an estate planning attorney. Do they specialize in estates? Make sure to find someone who offers the services you need.
Trust Your Gut
At the end of the day, you’ll need to trust your gut. Review your notes and choose an attorney with the qualities and services you need.
If you don’t feel like you can trust a specific lawyer, look at the next person on your list.
Use These Tips for Finding the Best Estate Planning Attorney in the Area
It’s time to make a plan and start searching. With these tips, you can find the best estate planning attorney in the area. Then, you’ll
have the peace of mind that you’re choosing the right attorney for your needs.
Searching for more tips in life? Explore the rest of our blog today!