If you happen to be a person that might have a lot of things you will be leaving behind to others when you time comes to leave this earth, you might want to start thinking about estate planning. It is important that you do this since you want to feel secure in what happens to your estate after you are gone. It’s probably a good idea that you also find yourself a good estate planning lawyer who can help you with this task. Without a good lawyer it might be a daunting task to take on yourself. The reason is that estate planning is more than just a will, it involves living wills and other financial planning that will ensure that all of your wishes are carried out.
The best thing to do when looking for a lawyer is to meet with several different ones. You should do this so that you get a feel for some of the lawyers out there and this will enable you to find one that you are most comfortable with. Make sure that you don’t sign any kind of agreement until you’ve spoken to at least three different lawyers.
Make sure that when you talk to each lawyer that you find out what their background in education was and make sure that the lawyer you pick has a 4 year undergraduate degree a long with a three year Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school. He also should have passed the state bar exam as well.
You should also find out who will actually be working on your estate planning file. Will it be the lawyer himself or a paralegal or legal assistant. The lawyer will charge you a high hourly rate whereas the legal assistant will charge less. In other cases the lawyer will just charge a flat rate and anyone in the office might work on your file.
If it turns out that a paralegal will be working on your file, make sure that you ask to be able to meet with them so that you can build a relationship with them as well. You need to have a working relationship with everyone that will be taking care of you estate planning and handling all of your important information.
You also need to find out how much of their time do they dedicate to estate planning. You want to make sure that the lawyer you choose does a lot of estate planning and that it’s not just something they do on the side. You want the lawyer you pick to dedicate at least half of his time to this kind of work, better if it’s more. This way you know the lawyer is taking continued education to be up to date with all the different rules of this kind of law.
You should make sure that you don’t forget to ask how much a retainer fee is and then when you are sure you have found the right lawyer sit down and go over a retainer agreement. This will outline the terms for the relationship that you will have with the lawyer and his law firm. Make sure to ask for your own copy of this contract and any other important documents that may be part of your estate planning.