If you have decided it is time to put an estate plan in place, congratulations on taking this big step to protecting your future and that of your loved ones! Now you may be wondering, “How do I choose an estate planning attorney near me?” It is an excellent question, which may vary depending on who is asking. Let us take a moment to explain this further.

If an unmarried male physician, who just completed his residency and accepted his first full-time position with no other assets asks: “How do I choose an estate planning attorney near me?,” a good starting place may be to ask friends, especially other doctors, and family, if they have an attorney they recommend.

If an entrepreneur, who has grown a start-up into a multi-million-dollar business, which is projected to continue to grow asks: “How do I choose an estate planning attorney near me?,” he or she may want to ask someone such as his or her accountant. This type of estate may likely involve a lot of financial planning, including tax planning, so an accountant may know of estate planning attorneys who work with wealthy entrepreneurs.

If a retired couple, who owns three homes, and wants to provide for their adult child with Down syndrome asks: “How do I choose an estate planning attorney near me?,” this couple may be best served by an attorney who works with special needs trusts, which involves a great deal of detailed planning and the appointing of a trustee. A local bar association may be a solid starting place.

Once possible attorneys are identified, it may be necessary to vet the attorney’s qualifications. This can be accomplished by perusing his or her website and online reviews and contacting the attorney for an in-person or telephone consultation. Through discussion of their estate and the attorney’s proposed course of action, the potential clients will get a good idea of whether the attorney seems knowledgeable, organized and a good fit.

If the attorney checks all of the boxes, this can be the time to discuss fees. Will the work be charged a flat fee or hourly? Is a retainer required? Requesting the projected hours is a good way of evaluating the reasonableness of the payment arrangement.

Once a qualified attorney has been located in your area and the fees are agreeable, the age-old question: “How do I choose an estate planning attorney near me?” has been answered. It is time to retain the attorney and create an estate plan, which is a wise financial move. For more estate planning questions, our office is here to provide you with trusted legal support. Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.