Estate planning takes a very special kind of attorney, one who knows the financial markets and trends, as well as how they apply to your particular situation. Though it can be tempting to draw up your own plans and goals, you would be wise to have a legal consultant to guide you along the way. Read here about what to look for in a good estate attorney.
Never hire the first lawyer you come across.
There are so many out there that it can be tempting to select the first one you come in contact with. Take your time and consult with a few before you make your decision. You don’t want to make the mistake of choosing the wrong one.
You have a right to expect clear, consistent communication with your lawyer. He or she should be able to give you a general summery of what you can expect in terms of your case, as well as what potential issues might arise and what could be done to remedy these issues.
Make it clear up front that you would like your legal fee agreement in writing from your lawyer. This will help you avoid the surprise of an unexpectedly high bill. Make sure that all expenses and fees are itemized, so that you’ll have a clear understanding of what exactly you are paying for.
Imagine taking on a lawyer who is about to enter court for the first time.
That’s what will happen if you take a general lawyer into a case where a specializing lawyer is a better bet. Ask any lawyer you know for their recommendations, and you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
If you already have a great lawyer, ask them for advice. They can either tell you that they can take on your case, or point you in the direction of a lawyer who will help you out. When you already have a lawyer you trust, there is no reason to search out advice elsewhere.
A good tip if you’re looking to hire a lawyer is to try to find the right lawyer for the task you need. If you’re simply wanting to draw up a contract, hiring a big shot, corporate lawyer is probably overkill and is just going to cost you a lot more.
Do not pick a lawyer because you saw their ad on television or on a billboard.
Many big firms that can afford this type of advertising use lawyers that are fresh out of school for most of their cases, but charge you for the experience held by its highest lawyers.
Make sure you understand the costs associated with a particular lawyer ahead of time. Before you even begin the process of seeking someone out, you need to think about what you can afford. As you call different lawyers, discuss fees and the payment schedule. Do not be surprised later on!
Once you have decided to hire a particular lawyer, make sure you receive a written retainer letter that specifically defines the scope of representation, the details of the services you are to receive and the applicable fee structure. By doing this, you will stand a much better chance of getting precisely what you bargained for and you will have useful documentation of the intended relationship should you need to pursue the lawyer in a malpractice action at some point.
A good tip to remember when working with a lawyer is to try and get as much done in possible in one meeting.
You’re going to pay a lot more to schedule different meetings to discuss multiple things. Going over several topics in one meeting can save you a lot of money.
Make a note of how long it takes a lawyer to schedule your first meeting. If it takes weeks to even see the lawyer for the first time, the lawyer may be too busy to give you proper service. You want a lawyer who puts you high on his list of priorities.
When meeting with a prospective attorney, ask him or her who you will primarily be talking to about your case. In some situations, lawyers give part of their caseload to a junior associate. If you feel you really connect with a certain attorney, suddenly finding out you will be working with another person may be quite upsetting. These feelings could be exacerbated if you don’t get along with the other person, too.
Try searching online for a lawyer.
While there are many industry resources for finding a lawyer, search engines are great for jump-starting your search. You can use them to quickly find local lawyers too. There are also many search engines out there that are specifically made for finding lawyers. Some can narrow down your search to lawyers within certain zip codes and states.
Now that you understand more about how estate planning works and how an attorney can help, you can move forward with a well-informed plan. Seek referrals, do your research and get your new attorney on board as soon as you can.It is never too late to plan your future.