What to Look for When Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

There are several key factors to consider when searching among the numerous estate planning attorneys near you. Selecting the right lawyer to handle your valuable assets can significantly impact the financial well-being of your loved ones. This article will focus on four major factors to consider when hiring an estate planning attorney: expertise, experience, understanding of state and local laws in California, and reputation among previous clients.

The Attorney’s Expertise:

An estate planning attorney’s expertise is essential for the proper plan preparation and execution. Estate planning is complex, which means your attorney should know about trusts, wills, probate processes, and advanced directives. When you speak with potential estate planning attorneys, inquire about their knowledge and experience in dealing with not only the basics, but all associated aspects of estate planning as well.

A good attorney would likely have an academic background in areas such as tax law or property law. These subjects are crucial for the effective management of a client’s estate. Attorneys who are members of professional organizations, like the State Bar of California or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), may have added benefits in updating their knowledge in this ever-evolving area of law.

The Attorney’s Experience:

Experience plays a critical role in managing estates effectively. It is important that the attorney you choose to help you plan your estate has a broad range of experience. This way, they will be able to handle your specific needs, no matter how complex or unique your situation may be.

Ask potential attorneys about the number of cases they have handled like yours, their success rate, client feedback, and any additional professional achievements. A seasoned attorney will guide you through the process smoothly, answering any questions or concerns along the way.

Understanding of State/Local Law in California:

Estate planning laws differ from state to state, and sometimes even vary between counties. When hiring an estate planning attorney in California, ensure that they are thoroughly familiar with the state and local laws. This is crucial for the proper management of your assets and to avoid any legal conflicts down the road. For instance, in California, various regulations govern aspects like probate fees, property transfer taxes, and trust administration, among other things.

An attorney who is well-versed in the nuances of California law is invaluable in ensuring that your estate plan is comprehensive and legally secure.

Reputation Among Previous Clients:

A lawyer’s reputation among former clients can be a telling indicator of their professionalism and ability to deliver desired results. Speak with other clients who have employed the estate planning attorney to gauge their satisfaction with the services provided.

Look for feedback regarding communication skills, timeliness, fees, effectiveness in handling disputes or complications, and any concerns that may help you make an informed decision.

Hiring the right estate planning attorney is critical to safeguarding your assets and providing for the financial well-being of your loved ones. When searching for the ideal attorney, consider their expertise, experience, understanding of California state and local laws, and their reputation among former clients.

Johnston & Associates prides itself on providing expert estate planning services tailored to the unique needs of our valued clients. To discuss your estate planning needs in detail and start building a customized plan, call us today at (707) 545-6542.