Choosing an attorney for your estate planning is probably one of the most important things you will ever have to do for your family. You want to make sure that your loved ones are taken care of should something happen to you. A good estate planning attorney should have certain qualities and experience that will help you make the best decisions on how your money and property should be distributed. Here are five tips on how to choose the right attorney for your estate planning needs.
Look outside of your immediate area
If you are using a search engine such as Google, it is wise to search in a broader area rather than just someone local in your hometown. A long island estate attorney will often have more than one office and may even be able to meet with you at a satellite location. By broadening your search area, you will have more attorneys to choose from and you can compare reviews. The more information you have the better you will be able to make an educated decision on which estate planning attorney may be best suited for you.
Find out if any other family members or friends have used an estate planning attorney. Ask them about the service they received and how well they were taken care of. People you know are most likely to give you an honest opinion and recommendation. If you have a financial advisor or an accountant, they may also be able to refer you to an attorney who specializes in estate planning.
Online reviews are a great way to retrieve information about a particular attorney. You can find a host of information on sites such as Google reviews and yelp. Social media also has a wealth of information and feedback. People like sharing their experiences with friends and family. Simply search the name of the attorney you want to know more about within your social media platform of choice and it will populate a wide variety of posts and information about the estate attorney you are interested in.
Don’t rely on internet directories
Internet directory sites such as Findlaw are not the best avenues in finding an estate attorney. Many attorneys pay to have them listed on these types of sites. Directories are very similar to a yellow pages ad. You should look for sites that do not get paid to list attorneys such as Avvo or visit your state’s bar association web page. Go offline and call the Better Business Bureau as well to check if there have been any complaints. While not all reviews will be positive, take into consideration the ratio between the positive and negative reviews. If the negative seems to be more prevalent, then you know it’s time to move on to the next candidate.
Does the attorney specialize in estate planning?
There may be some attorneys that have a general practice and have added estate planning to their list of services. If they seem to go way too far outside of the family and estate planning realm, they may just dabble in it from time to time. You want to make sure that the attorney you hire had been practicing estate planning law for quite some time and has many clients under their belt. Since laws change and new laws are passed quite often, you want to ensure that your estate planning attorney is on top of it.