You have decided to get your “ducks in a row” and create a will. A smart decision! Creating a will ensures that your final wishes are carried out, and that your assets will go to loved ones or favorite charities according to your plan. The first step in creating a will is hiring a qualified estate planning attorney to guide you through the process. What is the best way to find and choose an estate planning attorney? Here are some tips to help you get started:
Ask Friends for an Estate Planning Attorney Referral
One good place to start is to ask for a referral from a trusted friend, colleague or family member who has already created a will. If you know someone personally who has already gone through the process, that person will be able to tell you about the experience. This can give you valuable insight right from the start. If your friend formed a good relationship with his estate planning attorney, then you may choose to hire the same one, which makes for an easy search. On the other hand, what if you don’t know anyone personally who has hired an estate planning attorney?
Ask Your Financial Advisor or Accountant for a Referral
Do you have a relationship with a financial advisor or accountant? Many financial advisors view estate planning as part of the overall financial goal for their clients, so financial advisors will usually have several “go to” estate attorneys whom they can recommend. Accountants work with estate attorneys on estate, trust and income tax issues, and should also be able to recommend an estate planning attorney. Because their business paths cross while serving clients, these professionals are a good referral source for an estate planning attorney.
Ask Other Attorneys or Contact Your Local Bar Association
Have you hired an attorney in the past for a different service? If so, and if you developed a good relationship, then this attorney can probably recommend an estate planning attorney. If you are not familiar with any attorneys, then another source is your local bar association. The bar association will have a list of estate planning attorneys for you to choose from in your area.
Check Out Estate Planning Attorney Websites
Researching any topic, including estate attorneys and their services, has been made much easier over the years due to internet access. The vast majority of attorneys will have websites online to provide information about themselves and their services. Reading through the information on attorney websites will give you some insight into their strengths, experience, and even their personalities before you make a hiring decision.
Creating a will and planning for your final wishes is an important endeavor. You will want to make sure you choose an attorney who is capable of meeting all of your needs, and helps you to feel comfortable and confident with the entire process as well as the resulting documents. Making sure that you choose the right estate planning attorney will get you headed in the right direction.
If you’re in the metro Charlotte area or North Carolina, I would set up a meeting so we can discuss your particular needs. I also hold numerous “Get Your Ducks in a Row” Estate Planning Workshops throughout the year. You can sign up to attend right on the website. I hope to see you there.