Almost 50 percent of older Americans don’t have a legal will; this can make things difficult for your family after you pass on. On top of grieving, they may have disputes regarding what they believe your wishes to be and how you wanted them to be carried out.
If you’re like the population of Americans who don’t have a will yet, you might want to get started on this process. That way, your future is secure. Here are 5 things you have to consider when you’re looking for estate planning lawyers.
1. Their Experience
The most important thing to look for is an estate planning lawyer with experience. Obviously, the more experience they have, the more secure you’ll feel with their services.
But you shouldn’t go off their years of experience only. You should also ask the lawyers you’re considering for examples of prior work to see if they’ve worked similar cases to yours. Prior experience handling will contests and disputes is a huge plus.
2. Their Schooling
Just because the attorneys you’re considering are all licensed doesn’t mean they’re all of the same quality. For law school, there are 4 tiers, with the top one being the most prestigious.
It’s important to ask where your estate lawyer went to school, as it’s an indication of the quality of service they provide. It’s also vital that they’ve specialized in estate planning law.
3. Membership in Professional Associations
Laws are constantly changing, so it’s important your estate planning attorney is proactive in keeping up with them. If a lawyer isn’t in any, it may be a red flag.
Generally, organizations offer newsletters and seminars to update attorneys on changes in estate planning. If your lawyer is in several, you can feel confident knowing they’re doing their best to stay up-to-date.
4. Their Reviews
Not only do you want an estate lawyer that’s competent, but you also want someone who’s patient and understanding. Do a quick online search to see what their previous clients have to say.
Was the attorney reliable? Did they facilitate good attorney-client relationships? See what the negative reviews say and decide if those points are significant enough for you to take a lawyer out of the running.
5. Their Fees
Estate lawyers will have two ways of charging: either by the hour, or a flat fee. If they charge a flat fee, it will either be for simple or complex estates.
Should you choose an attorney with flat fees, do keep in mind that there are certain things not included with that, such as filings, appearances, and phone calls. You should factor those things in when comparing lawyers charging by the hour vs flat fee.
It’s Never Too Early for Estate Planning Lawyers
You may think that the search for estate planning lawyers doesn’t need to start until you’re older, but the truth is, it’s never too early to get your affairs in order. By getting a head start, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that should anything happen to you, your wishes are recorded and will be carried out.
If you want more useful tips, keep reading our blog.