Working with an attorney to create your estate plan will likely be an ongoing endeavor and should result in a lasting relationship given the fact that your estate plan should evolve throughout the course of your life. If you have never had the opportunity or need to work closely with an attorney before you may find the process somewhat foreign to you. You may also find that you have a number of practical questions, such as “ Do I work with you or a paralegal? ” In fact, this is one of the most common areas of confusion for clients because most clients have no reason to understand what a paralegal does and/or how a law office is typically structured and run. Although every law firm has its own operational structure and method of working with clients, a better understanding of how attorneys and paralegals typically work together may help answer the question.
A paralegal is usually someone who has received specialized training in the law at the college or vocational level; however, a paralegal is not an attorney. Instead, a paralegal has been trained to assist an attorney with important functions such as research, drafting legal documents, and interviewing clients. A well-trained paralegal can be an invaluable resource for a law firm. For this reason, your estate planning attorney may depend heavily on his or her paralegal to assist with many aspects of the firm.
Although a paralegal will never act as an attorney, paralegals are frequently the point of contact within a law firm for a client. Often, a paralegal will sit in on your initial meeting with your estate planning attorney and take notes about your needs and expectations for your estate plan. Your attorney will then determine the overall framework for your estate plan and begin working on individual components of the plan. His or her paralegal may assist in the drafting of documents that are to become part of the plan; however, your attorney will always oversee the drafting of those documents and will always review them and make the final adjustments and/or corrections.
Getting ahold of a paralegal is often much easier than the attorney as he/she may be in court or meeting with other clients. Discussing simple matters with a paralegal, therefore, is expeditious. You should always, however, have the option to wait and speak directly with your attorney if you so choose.
If you have additional questions or concerns about estate planning in general, contact the experienced New York estate planning attorneys at The Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.