Have you finally decided to take the advice of well-meaning friends and family who have been nudging you to get started on your estate plan? If so, good for you. Everyone over the age of 18 needs at least a basic estate plan in place. Your next step should be to retain the services of an experienced New York estate planning attorney. Of course, if you have never needed an estate planning attorney before you may not know where to begin on your quest to find the right one for you. Ultimately, the final choice is yours to make; however, you may find the following tips for choosing the right estate planning attorney to be helpful.
Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?
Creating a well thought out estate plan is one of the most complicated, yet necessary, endeavors you will undertake during the course of your lifetime. Although there is no legal requirement that you work with an experienced estate planning attorney when you create your plan, there are numerous reasons why doing so is highly advisable, including:
- Drafting your Will – in today’s electronic age you can find just about any D0-It-Yourself legal document on the internet is less than five minutes. Given its importance, however, your Will is not the types of document that should be attempted using a generic fill-in-the-blank form.
- Understanding the laws – both state and federal laws may impact the manner in which you must pass down your assets as well as other aspects of your estate plan. Failing to understand those laws can quickly derail your estate plan.
- Objective viewpoint – estate planning is a highly personal and sensitive topic. You need someone who is not personally invested in the outcome of your plan to help you make important decisions.
- Full distribution – if your estate plan fails to distribute your entire estate, the remaining estate becomes an intestate estate which, in turn, can take what seems like forever to probate.
Choosing the Right Estate Planning Lawyer
Once you have made the decision to work with an attorney, the task of finding the right one for you and your needs begins. Ultimately, you must make the final decision; however, to help you make that decision you may wish to consider the following tips:
- Be clear about your goals – before you can get started creating a plan – or for that matter hiring an attorney to help with that plan – you need to have a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish with your estate plan.
- Seek referrals – never underestimate the value of a referral. The odds are very good that a family member and/or close friend has worked with an estate planning attorney in your area before and can give you a referral if the attorney did a good job.
- Do your research – although it is never a good idea to hire an attorney based solely on the attorney’s website, you can often find valuable information about an attorney and/or about the firm in general, from a website. You may even be able to find attorney ratings or disciplinary action records, all of which can help you choose the right lawyer for you and your
- Interview each prospective lawyer – interview? This may sound strange at first; however, your estate planning attorney will ultimately know some of the most personal, and sensitive information about you – not to mention will know the ins and outs of your finances. The initial consultation with the attorney will help you determine if he or she is the right fit for you and your needs.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do to ensure that you choose the right estate planning lawyer for you and your needs is to listen to your intuition. Hopefully, you will develop a lifelong relationship with your estate planning attorney. With that in mind, you want to feel comfortable with the attorney you choose so don’t discount that factor when making your decision.
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about choosing an estate planning lawyer, contact an experienced estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.