It may shock you to learn that approximately 67% of Americans have no estate plan.
Writing a will is essential when it comes to insuring your assets are distributed appropriately. However, it’s in your best interest to work with will and trust attorneys to get the best results. They have the knowledge and resources to get you on the right track.
Let’s explore what you should know before hiring a will attorney.
How Are Their Fees?
This is one of the most important attributes to consider. Not all attorneys are created equal, and it’s in your best interest to find one with affordable services. Keep in mind that you often get what you pay for.
You should avoid working with the cheapest possible lawyers. Attorneys in the middle of the price range can likely satisfy your needs.
Be sure to ask about miscellaneous fees. For example, a lawyer might reply to emails or texts outside of business hours but charge extra for doing so.
How Long Have They Practiced?
Their level of experience is something you can’t neglect. Although inexperienced attorneys aren’t guaranteed to fall short of your goals, they’ll be less likely to reach them.
Those who’ve been in the industry for a while know how to deal with common issues that arise. When researching their experience, you should also look into if they’ve been involved in controversies.
Under no circumstances should you work with someone who has a history of unprofessional behavior. This is true even if the incident(s) occurred years ago. It’s important to keep in mind that some firms market “combined” experience instead of the experience of a particular attorney.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, you should look into how much experience each attorney has respectively. From here, you can avoid working with those who are new to the industry.
Is Estate Law Their Specialty?
Just because an attorney can handle writing a legal will doesn’t mean they specialize in estate law. You should prioritize finding lawyers who mainly handle projects in this area of concentration.
This will help ensure they are knowledgeable of current legal statutes about wills and trusts. It can also help them word your document to be as effective as possible.
How Long Will It Take?
Projects related to writing wills are often handled over a long period. However, your situation may require results as quickly as possible.
One of the most difficult aspects of writing a will is managing the other parties involved. For example, you might deal with money managers, accountants, and retirement planners. Your lawyer’s progress may be impeded by how quickly these other professionals work.
A reputable attorney can provide an estimate of your estate planning project’s timeline and offer advice on how to expedite it. If you don’t need to rush, then there’s nothing to worry about in this regard. Just be sure to choose someone capable of meeting your needs.
Can You Communicate With Them?
Writing a will often involves talking about many sensitive subjects. To get the best results, it’s imperative to hire an attorney you’re comfortable communicating with.
You should have no issue providing them with the information they request. If your intuition tells you something is off, continue your search elsewhere.
You should also consider how easy they are to get in touch with. The last thing you want is to be left in the dark while your project is ongoing. If they have vacation days coming up, they should direct you to other members of the firm who can answer your questions.
If nobody except them can provide information about your project, you should consider looking at other options. This is especially true if the attorney is frequently absent from the firm.
Will They Handle Your Project?
At times, people hire a law firm under the impression that a particular lawyer will be the one to handle their estate planning project. In reality, it gets delegated to another member of the firm they have never met.
This could cause the client to receive results much different than what they anticipated. They also might have trouble communicating with the lawyer handling the project. You should specifically ask who you’re going to work with.
If the professional you consult with plans on delegating the case, ask to meet that individual. As long as they seem capable, things should proceed smoothly.
Do They Hold Periodic Reviews?
Since wills often take so long to complete, there’s a good chance that your needs will change before the end of the project. Ask your attorney if they conduct periodic reviews. This allows them to assess the current state of your will and make necessary adjustments.
Reviews can also help them rework areas of concern after new legislative amendments pass. If you don’t assess your will before the end of the project, you run the risk of encountering complications.
In some situations, this could prevent you from sufficiently allocating your assets. You might also run into legal issues that can take months or years to resolve.
Can They Provide Professional Advice?
Unfortunately, there are many attorneys out there who aren’t necessarily interested in how their clients distribute their assets. Some lawyers sit back and watch their clients make poor decisions.
You should find an attorney who can offer professional advice when creating your will. In context, they should identify mistakes you’ve made and offer solutions to correct them. They should also answer questions you have about your situation.
To get the best advice, it’s imperative to work with someone who’s handled a large number of projects like yours. Ask for examples of their past work to help make your decision.
Hire the Right Will Attorney
The will attorney you work with plays a large role in the results you get. As long as you do your due diligence, you shouldn’t have trouble finding the best professional for you.
Reach out to a representative at the Law Office of Arturo Martinez. Our professional staff is ready to connect you with the right solution.