If you have not written up a will, you are not alone. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has estimated that more than 60% of people in the United States have yet to work out their estate planning or will. While there are a lot of good reasons that people may not want to think about putting a will or the documents for estate planning, there is help available. There are attorneys who specialize in trusts and wills. Finding the right lawyer for you and your situation may seem like a daunting task but it does not have to be. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Talk to your friends and family. Hands down, the best way to find good quality services or products is to get recommendations from people you know and trust. This may not be something your friends and family like to talk about but you probably know people who have hired lawyers to help with their estate planning. Ask around and even if you do not hire the same law firm your friend or family member used, you may get some ideas for where to start your search.
- Talk to the lawyers you know. Like medical professionals, attorneys specialize so the lawyer who helped you with your divorce or your personal injury lawsuit cannot help you with your estate planning, they may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can. It does not take much time or effort to ask if they have any suggestions.
- Look online. You can find just about everything online and getting a good estate planning lawyer is no exception. You can look at the website for the American Bar Association or NOLO. Many cities and towns have Facebook pages and groups that have been started to promote local businesses. You can check those out to find estate planning lawyers in your area.
- Talk to a few law firms. When you are looking for a company or person to hire, you should take the time to talk to at least three. Even if you click with the first person you talk to, you should keep your options open and talk to a few more. You will feel better about your decision if you spend a little more time interviewing a few different people.
- Get your questions answered. If the person you are looking to get legal help from does not seem interested in taking some time to talk to you and answer your questions before you become a client, you can be sure they will not change once you hire them. Here are some of the questions you should ask:
- How long have you practiced law? A new lawyer may be great but it is good to talk to well established and experienced people when it comes to your estate planning needs.
- How much of your practice is devoted to estate planning? Most lawyers handle a number of different kinds of cases. That is ok but you should hire a lawyer who spends at least some time each week dealing with wills and estates.
- What are your fees? You really cannot make an informed decision about who you will hire for your estate plan if you do not know what they charge. Get everything in writing and make sure you understand their billing policies. All law firms make their own rules when it comes to their billing so make sure you understand how they handle it. No reputable law firm is going to have a problem explaining this to you.
- Are there references I can talk to? They may have testimonials on their website but they may not answer all of your questions.
- Make your choice. Once you have done your homework, researched and talked to several law firms, you should hire the lawyer you feel the most comfortable with and that you can afford.
Hiring the right estate planning attorney can seem really hard but it does not have to be. If you spend some time and do some work and research, you will find the right law firm to help write your will or plan your estate.