There is so much involved in choosing an estate planningattorney to be your representative. Most times, many people decide who becomes their attorney based on the ads that they see. The fact that a commercial is the slickest is no guarantee that you’ll be getting the best. And while the focus is usually on working with the best in the industry, you also want to be sure that you are getting the right estate planning lawyer.
You shouldn’t also just rely on recommendations from people. That attorney A delivered stellar services on Mr. A’s divorce and Mrs. B’s real estate deal is no guarantee that they have the quality and experience to be your estate-planning attorney.
Don’t forget that estate planning involves your future and that of your family. You need to take the time to find and build a lifetime relationship with the right attorney. It might seem like a lot of work but that time investment will be well worth it.
Working with just any lawyer who does not specialize in the estate planning industry is a risk not worth taking. The results can be devastating sometimes if you hire the services of someone that does not deal with estate planning cases and matters regularly.
So, here’s what to do to find the right estate planning attorney –
1. Be careful of Internet directories
Internet directories give you a promise that you’ll get the best lawyer. We can’t count how many companies reach out to us almost every day offering to place us in their directories if we pay a hefty price. The thing is that most of these so-called specialist directories are nothing but a joke. They do not give you an insight into the experience and quality of the attorney. In reality, these directories are just adverts which is why you should be careful.
2. Ask your financial advisor, CPA, or insurance expert to give you recommendations
These people have likely worked with many lawyers in the past and will refer you to someone that they trust. Remember to check out the website and social pages of any recommended attorneys. This should give you more insight into their experience and qualifications before contacting them. It would make even more sense to go for an estate planning attorney that connects with your local community. This is because their reputation matters to them and accessing them in the future will be easier.
3. Professionalism matters for an estate planning attorney
You want to find out if the attorney you’re considering working with has come under any State Bar disciplinary proceedings in the past. All States have their state bar associations, so, check first to see whether the attorney has faced any disciplinary actions.
4. Professional memberships matter
Is the estate planning attorney a member of recognized professional associations? This will tell you whether or not the attorney has a commitment to keep up with the latest developments in the estate planning industry. As members of recognized organizations, we go through extensive technical education and build a network with the most experienced counterparts in estate planning. This is very important if we must stay relevant and offer the best services to the clients that trust us.
5. Legal malpractice insurance
A reputable estate planning attorney should hold a sign of accountability. This is where a legal malpractice insurance policy comes into play. Never make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who cannot provide proof of malpractice insurance. Protect yourself so that you don’t get into a mess by working with an attorney that undervalues their clients by not carrying malpractice insurance.
6. Go for an estate planning attorney that’s a specialist
Planning an estate requires experience, skill, as well as judgment and knowledge. Just like medicine, the law is now specialized. There’s no one size fits all doctor. What you have are specialists in different areas of human health. You’ve got the eye care specialist, tooth care specialist, heart health specialist, and more.
The same applies to Law. We’ve got corporate law, estate planning law, criminal law, personal injury law, and more. Lawyers that specialize in other areas of the law don’t know a lot about the intricacies of estate planning. You want to work with someone considered to be an authority, dedicated to helping individuals make the right choices by providing detailed information about things like assets and family.
That’s a wrap on Part I concerning how to choose the right estate planning attorney. In Part II, we will explain even more ways to get it right when choosing a lawyer.
At Thomas-Walters Estate Planning, we want to help you with planning your future and that of your family. Get in touch with us and let’s set up a free consultation to see how best we can help you build a custom estate plan.