Six Questions to Ask When Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Selecting the right estate planning attorney is crucial when it comes to safeguarding your assets, ensuring a smooth transfer of wealth, and protecting your loved ones’ interests. An experienced attorney can guide you through the complexities of estate planning, helping you create a comprehensive plan tailored to your unique needs. To make an informed decision and find an attorney who is the right fit for you, it is essential to ask the right questions during the hiring process. In this essay, we will discuss six important questions to ask when hiring an estate planning attorney.

1. What is your experience and expertise in estate planning?

The first question you should ask a potential estate planning attorney is about their experience and specialization in this field. Not all attorneys who draft wills and trusts specialize in estate planning.  Inquire about their years of practice, the number of estate plans they have handled, and whether they focus primarily on estate planning. It’s important to find an attorney who has extensive knowledge and expertise in this area of law to ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive and legally sound.

2. Can you explain the estate planning process to me?

Understanding the estate planning process is vital for effective collaboration with your attorney. A competent attorney should be able to explain the various steps involved, including asset evaluation, will and trust creation, beneficiary designations, and healthcare directives. They should also discuss any potential tax implications and provide guidance on selecting appropriate estate planning tools.

3. Have you ever been disciplined by the State Bar?

You can search a lawyer’s disciplinary history on the State Bar website:

https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/attorneyservices/search?1

4. Do you have malpractice insurance?

Malpractice insurance is optional is most states.  That said, a successful and respected lawyer would never practice without insurance.  Malpractice insurance protects both the lawyer and the client.  Even the best lawyers make mistakes and insurance may be the only recourse available to a client.

5. How do you communicate and collaborate with clients?

Effective communication and collaboration are crucial when working with an attorney. Ask the attorney about their preferred mode of communication, how often they provide updates, and how accessible they are for questions or concerns. A responsive attorney who values clear communication will ensure that you are well-informed and involved throughout the estate planning process.

6. What are your fee structures and billing practices?

Discussing fees and billing practices upfront is essential to avoid any surprises later. Inquire about the attorney’s fee structure, whether they charge a flat fee or an hourly rate, and what expenses are typically included. Clarify how billing is handled and whether they provide a written fee agreement. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the financial aspects before committing to an attorney.

Conclusion:

Hiring the right estate planning attorney is a crucial step towards securing your assets, protecting your loved ones, and ensuring your wishes are carried out. By asking these six questions about experience, the estate planning process, staying updated, insurance, communication, and fees, you can make an informed decision and find an attorney who is knowledgeable, trustworthy, and compatible with your needs. Taking the time to select the right attorney will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your estate plan is in capable hands.

I feel that every client deserves courageous and compassionate representation. This goes far beyond even the best law school education or practice in the most prestigious firms, but must be based in one's own experience and ethics, and practiced on a deep-rooted, personal level.

Antony M Eminowicz, PLLC Antony M Eminowicz, PLLC

Other ways of contacting us

Kingston Office
2 Pearl Street,
Kingston, NY 12401
Poughkeepsie Office (By Appointment Only)
272 Mill Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Tel: 845 481-4688
Fax: 845 853-1689

In Need of a Speaker?

Call or contact us today to schedule a free speaking engagement for your organization or group. Antony Eminowicz, PLLC speaks on a variety of informative legal topics affecting elderly people

Tel: 845 481-4688

Society of Settlement Planners - Member
Avvo
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys - Member
New York State Bar Association
The Law Society
Solititor Regulation Authority

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permission from Antony M. Eminowicz, PLLC