An estate planning lawyer is someone with whom you’ll work closely, communicating some of your heart’s desires and ambitions, and ultimately developing a plan to ensure your wishes are carried out upon your death. It goes without saying that, when it comes to hiring a wills, trusts, and estates attorney, you want to find someone with a high level of expertise as well as someone who inspires comfort.
So what are some of the things you should look for as you vet potential attorneys to help with your legacy and estate planning? Here are a few recommendations.
1) Seek someone with experience.
First and foremost, look for someone who has real experience in the estate planning world. The legal and financial implications of an estate plan can be deep, and you’re going to want someone with a real knowledge base. Don’t hesitate to ask your will and trust attorney how long they’ve been practicing in this legal field.
2) Ask how much time they spend on estate planning.
Some attorneys bill themselves as “estate planning lawyers” even when estate planning represents a very small fraction of their practice. You don’t necessarily want someone who pours 90 percent of their time into car accident cases. You want someone for whom estate planning is a primary focus.
3) Find someone who can help you minimize tax burdens and probate expenses.
When interviewing a wills and trusts attorney, ask about potential strategies for minimizing tax implications and keeping your estate out of probate court. (Most of the time, this will involve setting up a trust.) These are core concerns of the estate planning process, so make sure your lawyer can speak to them intelligently.
4) Also ask about living wills, healthcare directives, etc.
Another major aspect of estate planning is helping you codify your wishes should anything happen to leave you medically incapacitated. Seek a living wills lawyer who can speak to some of these legal strategies and provisions.
5) Make sure you’ll get to talk to your attorney directly.
Some firms are so big that you never actually get to talk with your lawyer, but instead work with them only through assistants and paralegals. It’s perfectly reasonable for you to want to talk with your wills and trusts attorney directly.
6) Ask about the fee.
It goes without saying that your estate planning lawyer will charge you a fee, and you have every right to know that fee in advance. Be wary of attorneys who seem unwilling to reveal their real cost, when you’ll be billed, how you’ll pay, etc.
7) Look for someone you feel comfortable with.
Customer service is important! At the end of the day, your living wills lawyer is someone with whom you should feel comfortable working closely with. If you just don’t like the person’s style, tone, or demeanor, that’s a perfectly legitimate reason to look elsewhere for your legal assistance.
At Singh Law Firm, we are always happy to talk with potential clients about our credentials, our years of experience, our emphasis on estate planning, and the range of services we offer. Further, we’d love to talk with you about individualized strategies to help you achieve your goals.
To learn more about working with a wills, trusts, and estates attorney in California, reach out to Singh Law Firm today. Contact us to set up a consultation, and we’ll be glad to tell you more about how we can help.