So, you need an estate planning attorney? Once you know you should have an estate planning attorney, there are some important steps to take in order to find the right professional. They need to be beneficial to your family, you need to be comfortable with them as they create your plan and then they need to take good care of your family when the time comes, according to The Balance, in “Tips for Finding an Estate Planning Attorney.”
Here are a few pointers as you begin your search:
Ask your accountant. Many estate planning attorneys work closely with accountants to address tax issues. Your accountant should know a few estate planning attorneys that they work on a regular basis. They are likely to need to coordinate some issues, so a good working relationship between the two is a plus.
Ask another attorney. If you have retained attorneys in setting up a business, buying a home or reviewing a contract, ask that attorney who they use for estate planning. You should also ask about client referrals. Attorneys in other practice areas recognize that their knowledge about business law or real estate law, does not give them the same training and skill set of an estate planning attorney.
Ask your financial advisor. Many financial advisors consider estate planning a critical part of their client’s overall financial plan. Most have a handful of estate planning attorneys for referral. If your financial advisor has not asked if you have a will, they are missing an important task of their job—looking out for all aspects of your life, not just your investments. Go ahead and ask the financial advisor who prepared their own estate plan.
Contact the local probate court. This isn’t for everyone, especially if you live in a large city. However, in a smaller community, the town clerk knows most of the attorneys and those that are well-liked by judges. Practicing in a small town is different than in a big city. Therefore, attorneys who work well with others, may be more effective in certain matters.
Visit the attorney’s website. You want to make sure they have the right credentials, that they focus in estate planning and that they share your values.
Maybe the best tip of all: Make an appointment. When you sit down with an estate planning attorney and have a face-to-face conversation, you’ll really know if they are the right fit for you and your family. Janet Brewer, Esq. in Palo Alto, CA has more than 20 years of legal experience that will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206. You can also read what her clients say about her here.
Resource: The Balance (July 31, 2018) “Tips for Finding an Estate Planning Attorney”