Choosing an Estate Attorney: A Simple Guide

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Choosing an estate attorney to help you draft your plan is easily one of the hardest parts of the job. There are many factors to considered, and for those who are out of the loop, it’s easy to make catastrophic mistakes. You can use this guide to pick out exactly the right planner for you.

Factor 1: Proximity

Many estate planners can do almost everything remotely, you will still want to consider where your attorney’s home office is for a number of factors.

  • You may need to drop off paperwork to their premises.
  • Final documents will need to be signed in person.
  • A lawyer outside of your state may not practice law in yours.

Don't be afraid to start your conversations off with this question, any law office will be happy to answer this question right from the start!

Factor 2: Priorities

When talking to your lawyer, consider the questions they are asking you. Are they asking about your priorities? What do they ask about your future? Your family? Your finances? While all of these things should be touched on by any responsible law office, what they ask and how they ask it is something worth keeping an eye on.

Factor 3: Workflow

Don’t be afraid to ask how they are going to build out your plan! In addition to educating yourself on what the process will look like, this also will give you insight to how their office operates. You should also ask how much of your time the process will take. How do they collect your information? Do they work digitally, or do they mostly use physical paperwork? Who will you be communicating with as your plan is drafted?

Factor 4: Cost

Cost is frequently overweighed when it comes to designing an estate plan. While it is certainly important, estate plans should save money. Any competent law office employee should be able to explain in plain language how an estate plan will save you and your family money overall. Typically, more expensive plans mean greater savings down the road. Ask the person who you are working with how your plan will save you or your loved one's money down the road. Be sure to ask about what is included in the planning fees. Some firms offer included services, such as real estate funding and digital copies, while other firms will not.

You should also be concerned about any law office that is too open with their pricing. Any firm that is willing to let you sign on the dotted line without talking to you does NOT have your best interest at heart. Institutions that offer bargain pricing on wills may put provisions into your plan that could cause your family to lose a large portion of your legacy before it gets to them!

While there are many facets that go in to selecting an attorney, for many these are the main four areas of concern. Choosing an estate attorney can be hard, but keeping these points and your priorities in mind are key! When in doubt, or even looking for a place to start, don't be afraid to consult your state's Bar Association! When talking to potential law offices, pay attention to the questions they ask during the appointment and be sure to ask plenty of questions for yourself. If you have any questions about your own planning, be sure to call us at 419-352-7522, or click here to schedule a time to talk to one of our associates today!

Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney

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