Did you know that as of 2021, only 32.9% of adults had a legal will? Estate planning is the best way to protect your wealth and the ones you love.
Many people put off estate planning because they don’t want to think about death or they aren’t sure about the legal process. A good way to begin is by consulting an estate planning lawyer who can explain the process and guide you every step of the way.
If you’re considering estate planning, we can help! Here’s how to find the best estate planning attorneys to begin the process.
1. Find a Local Attorney
If you live in a small town or rural area, you have limited options for finding estate planning lawyers may. You may have to look for someone in a nearby city or other location.
If you live in a bigger city, you may have many options for a Michigan estate planning lawyer. Hiring a lawyer close to your home or work is convenient.
It’s easier to plan in-person meetings and there’s no need to disrupt your entire day or your family’s schedule to meet with your attorney. As you begin your search, make a list of options for estate planning lawyers.
Do some research on each one and consider location as one factor as you narrow your choices.
2. Compare Attorney Prices
Once you narrow your choices, you should research attorney costs. They can vary.
Compensation and fees for Lawyers differ. Never choose an attorney based solely on cost.
The cheapest attorney in town may be the worst attorney in town. And the most expensive may not be the best either. Make sure the attorney you choose has a solid reputation for excellent work and fair pricing.
Ask whether they charge by the hour or if there’s a flat fee. It is important to be aware of what your attorney charges so you don’t find yourself facing unforeseen charges down the road.
3. Ask Friends and Family
When you need an estate planning attorney, it’s a good idea to ask for a recommendation. It’s likely that one of your friends, family members, or co-workers has worked with an estate planning lawyer at some point.
You may feel better knowing someone you trust has given their seal of approval. Protecting your finances and your family is so important.
Take the time to ask for references to help you find the right estate planning lawyer for the job.
4. Schedule a Consultation
It’s always a good idea to schedule a consultation with a lawyer before making a final decision. You want to get to know them and learn more about the estate planning process and what you can expect.
They should be happy to explain the entire process and how long it will take. Prepare any questions you have before the consultation and share them with the lawyer.
Some questions you may want to ask include:
Where did you attend law school?
How long have you practiced law?
How often do you handle estate planning for your clients?
How will we communicate?
How can I reach you?
Who will contact me and how often?
Are you the attorney who will handle my estate planning?
What are your rates or fees?
How will I be billed for your services?
Are there any other charges I can expect?
What types of certifications do you have?
This is a good way to learn more about an attorney, assess their qualifications, and establish a friendly rapport. If the attorney doesn’t communicate with you or answer your questions, they are probably not the right one for you.
5. Discuss the Complexities of Your Assets
Some wills are simple to create if the client has minimal assets and few beneficiaries.
Others are complex with a variety of assets, trusts, debts, and other complications. This requires an experienced attorney.
A complicated will requires more time, resources, and experience. When the future of your wealth and your family is at stake, you want a qualified Michigan estate planning lawyer by your side.
6. Don’t Fall for Fancy Slogans
Beware of law firms with slogans like “feel safe with us” or “we’ll care for you.” These sayings are meaningless without a proven track record of legal experience.
There’s nothing wrong with a slogan, but you want to focus on the services the attorney provides and if those services can benefit you. Any lawyer can say they specialize in estate planning, but that’s not always the case.
Make sure you’re choosing an experienced estate planning lawyer who has years of experience helping clients like you.
7. Inquire About Malpractice Insurance
Anyone can make a mistake in business, including an experienced estate planning attorney. Make sure any lawyer you hire has malpractice insurance.
Reputable lawyers carry malpractice insurance to protect themselves and their clients. It’s not a legal obligation for all lawyers, so be sure to inquire whether they carry this type of insurance coverage.
Find the Best Estate Planning Lawyer
Although hiring an estate planning lawyer may not be at the top of your list, it’s one of the most important things you’ll ever do for the ones you love.
Leaving your assets to chance is never a good option. Make sure to have your beneficiaries protected and your wealth distributed according to your wishes.
If you’re considering estate planning, we’d love to help you. Our experienced Michigan estate planning lawyers can help you with every aspect of estate planning.
Contact the Cronin Law Firm today for a complimentary consultation.