The Cook & Tolley Blog

Top Tips on How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney

top estate planning attorneys

Creating an estate plan can be a daunting task. Unfortunately, this tends to be a big reason why many Americans currently do not have one.

In 2022, only 33% of Americans had an estate plan. It is crucial to have one because this can be the key to protecting your loved ones after you pass.

To start the estate planning process, you should seek out an estate planning attorney.

How can you find the top estate planning attorneys? This guide will give you some tips on what to look for.

Ask About the Price

Before you do anything, you should ask an estate planning attorney what their fee is to write up a will for you. Normally, this is not too expensive because most people generally have simple wills.

However, this could add up if you have a more complicated will. This could be something that has a lot of contingencies, you could have a lot of different scenarios you want to cover in a will, or you could own a company that has to be divided up.

In those types of situations, an estate lawyer is likely always going to ask you for more money. Still, during a consultation, any experienced estate lawyer should be able to give you a quote for how much they charge for their services.

Do some research on what an appropriate budget is for this. Then, feel free to ask several lawyers about this to see if you can find one that charges a more reasonable amount of money.

Ask Around

Another thing that you can do is ask people around you what estate lawyer they used for their wills. While only 33% of people in America have wills, you are more likely to know people in your social circles who have done this if you are also in that stage of life.

You can ask people such as family members, friends, acquaintances, and more. These are likely going to be people that you trust, and at least respect their opinion if you are willing to ask them a question like this.

This is where human instinct comes into play. About 88% of people are likely to trust a recommendation from a friend or family member over any other source.

What does this mean? It means that at the end of the day, we trust those that we keep closest to us to guide us down the right path. Asking a friend or family member for a recommendation on this subject can get you one step closer to what you need.

Search Locally

Considering that this type of legal work is not complicated for a lot of lawyers, you will want to find one that works in your local area to save money. There are a few reasons for this.

In all likelihood, one of you is going to have to travel to the other person to sign some documents and go over specific details about your will.

If the lawyer drives to your home for a meeting, they will likely put that as part of the time that they charge you to do this. Even if you are the one who travels to their office, it could still cost you time and money to get to that destination.

That is why you will want to want a lawyer that is located in your town or city. It makes your situation much easier logistically and you will want to make this as convenient as possible. If you are reading this article, you are likely looking for an estate planning attorney in the Athens, GA area.

Use searching tools to find lawyers in your area whether you are in Athens or another city.

Ask About Experience

The next thing that you should do once you meet a lawyer is ask them about their experience. A lot of lawyers are likely going to have experience with estate planning, and it should not be too difficult to find a competent one.

You can start by asking how many years they have done estate planning. Then, you can ask more specific questions, such as what kind of estate plans they have done in the past.

Let’s say that you have a will that has several contingencies for your kids. In this situation, you may want to ask your lawyer if they have ever written a will like this before. Then, you should feel comfortable going over specific scenarios with your lawyer and ask them how they have handled things like this in the past.

Or, you could own a business that you are looking to pass down to your family once you pass away. Ask a lawyer if they have ever worked on an estate plan involving a commercial business before in this scenario.

Go With Your Gut

Finally, you need to go with your gut when it comes to hiring an estate lawyer. Think about it. This is going to be the person that represents your legal interests once you pass away.

You want to make sure that you trust this person to handle your loved ones with respect and give them each what they are entitled to in your will.

Also, you may want to hire a lawyer that has the right temperament for this. The reason why this may be important is because there is a chance that you may have a controversial will.

An example can be if you decide to leave a close family member out of your will unexpectedly. If that happens, it may help to have a lawyer that is good at handling situations with this kind of conflict.

Look for the Top Estate Planning Attorneys

These are just some factors to consider if you are looking for the top estate planning attorneys for your estate plan. You are going to want someone local for convenience and cost.

Then, you need to ask a lawyer how much their services cost. Find out what their experience with this is and go with your gut once you talk to some lawyers.

Are you ready to form your estate plan? Request a consultation here.

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