There are a lot of estate planning lawyers out there, but not all may be right for your family. When choosing an attorney, ask yourself a few key questions along the way.
What Are Your Goals in Estate Planning?
Think about the goals you want to achieve by making an estate plan. For example, would you rather get a basic plan done very quickly, or spend a bit more time tailoring the plan? You may think that you need only a will or only a trust, but after talking to a couple of attorneys it could become clear that you need more planning done. You also may have the goals of peace of mind that your plan is done, and comfort in working with a lawyer who understands you.
What Are Your Expectations for Your Lawyer?
Also think about your expectations for a lawyer, and talk to potential lawyers about those expectations when you meet them. You might prefer communication via email only, or you might want to meet in person several times. You might want to review all documents in advance before you sit down to sign them. Or you might want the lawyer to show you where each of your wishes are listed in your estate plan. Different lawyers have different styles of working and communicating, so thinking about what you prefer can help you decide whether someone is a good fit. But also be aware that most lawyers are very busy and may not respond to your emails or calls right away, though they should get back to you within a few days.
Do You Have Any Special Circumstances?
One big reason that you might want one lawyer over another is special expertise in a certain area. Your family might have circumstances that require a lawyer with related knowledge to make a proper estate plan. For instance, you might need a particular lawyer if you:
- Are not a U.S. citizen or have relatives who are not citizens
- Own a small business
- Have a child with special needs
- Are wealthy or earn a high salary
- Own a lot of real estate
Some estate planning lawyers focus on clients who need international estate planning or who have tax and business planning needs. Others have special knowledge of disability planning, high net worth estate options, or real estate management. Your needs can help you narrow down the pool of estate planning attorneys to find a good fit.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience and her knowledge of international and tax issues will give you confidence and peace of mind. You can read more about Janet here. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.