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Top 7 Factors to Consider When Hiring Estate Planning Attorneys

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Top 7 Factors to Consider When Hiring Estate Planning Attorneys

There are over 206,665 estate law attorneys in the U.S, which shows there are plenty of options to choose from.

Finding a reputable estate lawyer is essential for handling an array of tasks, from creating a will to giving a loved one power of attorney.

But with so many lawyers and firms available, it’s difficult knowing what is and isn’t a good quality for a lawyer.

Maybe that’s why you’re here; you’re on the hunt for an estate lawyer and need guidance on the matter.

Hit the nail on the head? No worries; we’ve got you. Here are seven factors to consider when hiring estate planning attorneys.

1. Outline Your Needs

Before comparing attorney fees, it’s important to understand your needs.

This will make your search easier because you’ll know which qualities to look for.

It could be to designate a beneficiary or fund a trust that you’re passionate about. Either way, if you need inspiration, click here to learn more.

2. Ask Around for Recommendations

Another way to find options for attorneys is by asking loved ones for recommendations.

The beauty about this is you’ll get honest feedback about the estate lawyer and whether it’s worth your time or money.

And don’t forget to ask co-workers and neighbors, too.

3. Search Online

A simple Google search should show you the top estate planning lawyers in your area.

If you’re not sure where to start, visit your state’s bar association site because they have an extensive list of members who are credible and have years of estate planning experience.

A major benefit of taking this route is that the initial consultation is far cheaper than if you didn’t use a referral service.

Further, reading online reviews is essential during your search.

This will give you insight into how estate lawyers treat their clients and whether they’re reliable. Note, if there is a consistent negative comment that keeps arising, continue your search, as it’s a major red flag.

4. Only Consider Certified Candidates

Make sure that everyone on your shortlist is a board-certified estate planner.

It’s important to note that all attorneys must have several years of experience practicing law before pursuing their specialty.

Also, to become certified, estate planning lawyers must submit several professional references, take additional courses, and excel at a written exam.

You should also look at membership listings for estate planners because that’s where you’ll find the top attorneys in the industry.

For instance, check out the American College of Trust and Estate Council where you can connect with credible candidates.

5. Ask About Insurance Policies

Before arranging an interview with anyone, check that each candidate carries malpractice insurance.

This is especially crucial if it’s not essential in your state because it puts you at risk.

For instance, if your attorney makes a mistake, it could cost you a fortune to undo or reverse it, which could mean you lose everything.

Also, the beauty of carrying malpractice insurance is that it shows that a lawyer is accountable and serious about their role.

Note, attorneys who have a P.C. or A.P.C. after their firm name automatically carry this, so consider this during your search.

6. Interview Potential Options

Now for the exciting part!

You should have narrowed your list to five potential candidates. Although it feels overwhelming, the initial meeting should be concise and simple.

And don’t forget to write out your questions to avoid forgetting any important points.

For instance, ask each attorney about where they received their law degree and how long they’ve been in practice.

Also, ask about how you’ll stay in touch during the process, whether it’s via email or through your work.

Additionally, explain your current situation to the attorney and they should be comfortable answering any questions you have.

At the very least, each candidate should explain the options under the law, so you can make an informed decision.

Further, ask about the attorney costs and rates, especially to check whether they charge hourly or as a flat fee.

But be mindful of any hidden charges, as they could negatively impact your budget.

During the interview, it’s important to observe each candidate’s behavior and body language.

This is a crucial step because you’re potentially working with this person for years and they’ll be handling your private information.

Because of this, the attorney should be actively interested and come equipped with their own set of questions.

If the candidate looks bored or isn’t listening, continue your search, as it shows they’re unprofessional and unreliable.

7. Make Your Final Decision

Only once you’ve had a productive interview session with each attorney, should you make your final decision.

Make a list of your top three and create a list for them, complete with their pros and cons.

Write out why you like one over the other, whether you felt more comfortable with one or found they had more experience.

If you’re still on the fence, follow up your top three with additional questions, especially if you’ve forgotten to cover a specific area.

When you’ve decided on an attorney, let them know immediately.

This will help you get started and arrange your first official meeting. But before handing over any cash, you should have a contract that includes fees and the timeline.

Everything to Know About Hiring Estate Planning Attorneys

Hopefully, you’re now confident about hiring estate planning attorneys.

There are many steps to take before finding the ultimate attorney, such as understanding your needs and knowing where to browse candidates online.

You should also only choose a lawyer who carries malpractice insurance and interview each one thoroughly. Good luck with your search!

Enjoyed this article? Great to hear! If you want more, check out the rest of our blog for more content.

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