Every family has its own “personality,” and finding an estate planning attorney who works well with you and your family makes the process easier. An article in the Norman Transcript, “The right attorney is needed for wills and estate planning,” provides some tips on how to find the right one.
The daughter of a senior who develops dementia or another debilitating or life-threatening disease sees first-hand the true complexities of incapacity. It helps the family to understand and appreciate the need and the value of health-care proxies, living wills and powers of attorney. These “life events” happen every day to many people. In order to address this reality of life, you need a plan.
The big question is, who’s going to be helping you?
Younger generations will be quick to jump online or look at their phones. However, it is important to understand that estate planning is state-specific. Every state has specific requirements, timelines and deadlines. Your state’s laws will tell you just how estate planning documents must be written and how they need to be signed. A will or power of attorney form that you find online, may not satisfy your state’s requirements.
Remember that the law hasn’t caught up with technology. There is no way that you can execute your will on your smart phone. In addition, many free or low-cost online legal service providers don’t provide state-specific advice or updated information.
When you talk with potential estate planning lawyers, make sure to ask questions to uncover their knowledge in this area of the law. You want an attorney who’s skilled and responsive to your needs, a good listener and a good communicator. There are general practitioners who take “whatever walks in the door,” which gives them a broad yet cursory level of experience with many types of law.
You want to work with an attorney who focuses on estate planning. They will have a much deeper knowledge and extensive experience in this area of practice. Your estate planning attorney might not know how to defend a products liability claim. That’s OK, because he or she definitely will know how to create customized estate plans for their clients.
You should meet with the attorney face-to-face after reading through their website and social media platforms (if any). Those will give you information about their credentials and a sense of how they approach estate planning. This is the first step in choosing an estate planning attorney.
Well-meaning friends may have suggestions about attorneys they have worked with, but you’ll need to be objective about any recommendations. Their situations may be quite different than yours, and they may not understand that estate planning is different than other legal areas.
Reference: Norman Transcript (March 5, 2017) “The right attorney is needed for wills and estate planning”