So, you’ve decided that 2019 is the year you’re going to get your act together and get an estate plan in place. Great! But how do you find an estate planning attorney who you can trust to give you the proper guidance? What do you look for? How do you know you’re getting the most out of your investment?
Below is a checklist of what to look for when searching for the best estate planning attorney:
1. First, get a referral. There is a reason word of mouth is the often the best way to find an estate planning attorney. Your financial advisor or accountant should be able to give you the name of someone he or she recommends.
2. Make sure your attorney focuses in estate planning. There are a lot of lawyers who may handle divorces or personal injury cases but many of them are not specifically qualified in estate planning. Make sure the attorney you choose is highly experienced in probate, trust, and estate planning law in your state.
3. Pricing should be fixed. Make sure your attorney gives you one fixed price so there are no unexpected costs that come up later in the process. Find out what the flat fee covers and doesn’t cover so you aren’t surprised by your final invoice.
4. The attorney should offer a variety of estate planning services. Your attorney should be able to help you with a variety of tasks such as establishing a trust, avoiding probate, creating wills, minimizing taxes, and so forth.
5. Set up your plan in a reasonable amount of time. Your attorney should be able to prepare a first draft within a couple of weeks, with another two or so weeks for making further edits.
6. Provide excellent customer service. A good estate planning attorney should be able to guide you through the whole process, answering any questions you may have. Not only that, since he or she is handling confidential matters, your attorney should be someone with whom you feel comfortable indulging private information. Your attorney should be clear in explaining the process and why an estate plan should account for every asset you own. He or she should be someone who shows empathy and speaks in a language you understand.
7. Stay in contact with you over the years. A good estate planning attorney should not disappear after writing your estate plan; he or she should stay in contact with you regularly, reminding you when it’s time to update your plan. Deliberato Law Center offers an annual maintenance plan to keep our clients’ plans current and allow for flexibility when life circumstances change.
Deliberato Law Center is one of Cleveland’s most capable estate planning law firms, priding ourselves on offering both experience and compassion to our clients. Our attorneys can help you and your loved ones set up a plan for the future. We focus on estate planning, Medicaid planning, and business succession planning. We are one of few law firms offering a free consultation—schedule yours today. We are sure you’ll feel connected to and comfortable with any member of our legal team!