You’re ready to hire an estate planning attorney to draft your will, but you’re not sure who to call. You’re in good company!
Many people understand the importance of having a will or trust, but they’re stuck because they don’t have an attorney to help them.
If you need an estate planning attorney, start by asking for recommendations from the people you know. Do your friends, family or coworkers have a legal advisor they trust? Does your pastor know of a lawyer connected with your church? You can also contact your local bar association or search online using a reputable source like the Christian Legal Society.
If you need an estate planning attorney, start by asking for recommendations from the people you know.
Once you’ve narrowed your list, these five considerations will help you identify the right estate planning attorney for you.
- You’ll want someone who understands your goals and shares your general values. If your decisions are guided by your beliefs about stewardship, or if you have charitable intent, make sure your attorney will support your planning decisions, not try to talk you out of them.
- Expertise. The right attorney is well-versed in the estate planning experience; a significant portion of their practice should be dedicated toward helping people write wills and trusts. Don’t just settle for someone who is willing to piece your documents together. Your estate planning attorney should be able to counsel you on the complex issues unique to your goals and situation.
- Personal Connection. Find someone with whom you can envision working with on an ongoing basis. Do they listen to you, or do they talk over you? Are they affirming or condescending in the way they treat you? You’ll want a lawyer who makes the planning process as pleasant and painless as possible.
- You may be able to converse with your attorney by phone or email between visits. Even so, you’ll likely have to meet in person at least once for your initial conversation and later for the official signing of your will or trust. Consider the proximity of your potential lawyers to your home. Additionally, if given the option between urban or suburban offices, determine whether you’ll want to deal with the hassles of city access, traffic and parking.
- Ultimately, the expense of your will or trust is more related to the complexities of your plan than the person putting it together. Still, there is some variance in estate planning expenses among different law offices. A potential attorney should be able to give you a ballpark estimate of the fees you can expect, based on your initial conversation.
Finding the right estate planning attorney can feel overwhelming – but don’t let that get in the way of finalizing one of the most important documents you’ll ever create.
Start checking around today, taking the process one small step at a time. In no time, you’ll have the right attorney by your side, helping you achieve your goals and gain peace of mind for your family through a completed plan.
Written by The Barnabas Foundation