Planning your estate can easily feel overwhelming at times. Choosing the right attorney to help you can make a world of difference in easing your stress as you plan ahead.
Here are the 5 most important qualities to consider when searching for the perfect attorney to handle your unique estate-planning needs.
As with most financial transactions, you get what you pay for when it comes to hiring the right estate-planning attorney. Be prepared to comparison shop, and budget for the cost of a high-quality attorney who exemplifies expertise and experience.
A skilled estate-planning attorney will have specialized knowledge surrounding the intricacies of estate laws and processes, such as writing a will, designating beneficiaries, and creating trusts.
Furthermore, a quality attorney will possess significant experience in estate planning with a wide variety of clients. Word of mouth can be especially helpful, so be sure to ask around your social networks for referrals.
You’ll be able to gauge professionalism right off the bat—do they respond in a timely manner to your inquiries? Do they thoroughly answer all your questions? Asking the right questions from the get-go can help you determine if an estate-planning attorney is the right one for you.
Also consider: Credentials are not the end-all in assessing quality, you do want to make sure your attorney has a degree from an accredited law school, has passed the bar, and is properly licensed in your state.
3. Peace of mind
It’s never an easy process discussing death and dying, especially with a stranger. Therefore, it’s essential that an estate-planning attorney puts your mind at ease when broaching difficult topics like funeral arrangements and personal finances.
Underneath it all, the right attorney should give you peace of mind throughout the whole process. Go with your gut. If you get a bad feeling, it’s best to walk away early.
Knowing where you stand financially is critical, since you don’t know exactly how much the work will cost until it’s complete. Therefore, a sign of a good attorney is the ability to be honest and forthcoming when it comes to the final bill.
Red flag! That advertised “flat fee” sounds great, but it may just be code for basic, standardized service. Instead, the true cost should reflect your unique circumstances and an attorney’s transparent pricing protocol.
Because each person’s estate-planning situation is one of a kind, the ideal attorney will remain flexible throughout requests for revisions.
Your life circumstances can change in the blink of an eye, and you want an estate-planning attorney who can quickly adapt. A responsive attorney will help you navigate life-changing events and provide you with tools and strategies in updating your estate plan accordingly.
The bottom line
Finding the right estate-planning attorney will require time and effort—but all that work will be worth it in the end. Once you have the assurance that your future and the future of your loved ones is in the capable hands of an experienced expert, you’ll be able to focus more on what matters most—living life to the fullest.