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How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney

An estate planning attorney is a lawyer who can help you plan and construct your will. Knowing how to choose a estate planning attorney is important for anyone who wants his or her assets distributed properly after death. An estate planning lawyer can help you choose who will receive your assets, as well who will take guardianship of minor children you are responsible for. Selecting a good estate planning lawyer means finding an attorney with whom you are comfortable drafting your will. In this article, you will learn more about estate planning lawyers, including how to select one and what they can do to help settle your affairs.

What are the factors for selecting a good estate planning lawyer?

Choosing a senior estate planning attorney is an important decision, since wills are finalized documents after you pass away, to be interpreted as they may. An estate planning attorney is also helpful as someone who can ensure that your will is legally valid and not later rejected due to missing critical elements. Still, this does not mean you should choose just any attorney. When considering how to choose a estate planning attorney, you should do your due diligence. Talk to a number of attorneys in order to find out pricing and service options. The estate planning lawyer will also need to be someone who you are confident can articulate your estate plan.

As you are selecting a good estate planning lawyer, there are a few factors you should consider. Make a decision about choosing a good estate planning attorney by considering the following factors:

  • The attorney should have extensive experience with estate planning. Experience helping seniors with estate planning is a plus.
  • The attorney should have a good reputation in the community and among your relatives and friends.
  • The attorney should be listed in your state’s bar referral service.
  • The attorney should not charge fees that you cannot afford to pay for.

When selecting a good estate planning lawyer, cost is a particularly important consideration. Estate planning lawyers typically charge by the hour, but there is not a set rate between all lawyers. The best way to discover the fees charged by an estate planning lawyer is to meet with several who offer free first-time consultations and to gather information about future fees you will have to pay to each individual attorney. The cost for an estate planning attorney to write your will varies depending on how much time it takes the attorney to gather all of your financial information and draft the will itself. Therefore, you should get an estimate from several estate attorneys regarding the projected cost of your particular will.

Note: If you have already written a will but have moved to a new state, you may still need to consult an estate planning lawyer to ensure the will and will executor can handle your affairs in your new state or from out of state.

Tips for Choosing the Right Estate Planning Attorney

To choose the right estate planning lawyer, you need to examine the factors listed above. However, first you must know how to choose an estate planning attorney to examine in the first place. You will not necessarily want to walk into every attorney’s office in your town until you find the one with which you feel comfortable. The following tips for choosing the right estate planning attorney can help make your search a little simpler:

  • Ask friends and family which estate planning attorney they recommend. As with any service, it is always nice to use an estate lawyer who comes personally recommended. It is likely that you trust your friends and family members. Therefore, by asking them if they have successfully used the services of an estate planning lawyer, you can by extension feel some level of trust in that attorney. If possible, compile a list of estate attorneys and speak with each of them to increase your options.
  • Do your research. Even if you are unable to find a recommendation for a good estate planning lawyer, you can at the very least research online or in the yellow pages for choices. Download our free guide for more details on the kind of research you can do.
  • Meet with as many senior estate planning lawyers as you can. Learn about consultation fees for each senior estate planning attorney on your list, then speak with as many as you can. Be aware that after three or four consultations, you may begin to feel fatigued and frustrated by the process, so it is best to try out two to four excellent options before moving on to others. To schedule a meeting with an estate planning attorney, you can find the phone number for their offices and call to set up a consultation.
  • Bring as much information into your estate planning consultations as you possibly can. Selecting a good estate planning lawyer requires you to have your financial information at the ready for each lawyer. He or she will be able to look through your information and give you a more accurate estimation of the time it will take to complete your will and the amount you may owe in fees due to that time and effort. The estate planning lawyer may have his or her own questionnaire for you to fill out ahead of time so that your information is readily available during your consultation, or you may want to fill out your own.
  • Find more tips for choosing the right estate planning attorney by downloading our free and comprehensive guide.