The stereotypical image of estate planning is of wealthy entrepreneurs or landowners declaring the successors of their properties. Large mansions, antique cars, priceless paintings, and controlling shares in a multinational; most people think planning for the future is reserved for those with generational wealth and not for those with modest lifestyles.
It is not true- any person, regardless of wealth and income status, can benefit from making a plan for the future of their estate. Having a Will allows people to have a more direct say in who gets to access their resources. It also makes it a cheaper, less time-consuming process for those who will benefit from the Will as opposed to if the deceased had passed intestate.
Estate planning is an integral act that allows us to ensure the future of our loved ones even after we have passed. Given its importance, people contemplating writing their Will must get the best legal assistance for this task. These six tips will ensure people find the best representation for their needs and budget.
Always Pay Attention To A Lawyer’s Specialization
When considering who to hire to draft or execute a Will, an essential factor is the lawyer’s area of specialization. Not all lawyers will be equally capable of handling the task of estate planning. There will be lawyers who work for firms that manage all kinds of cases and clientele and only get limited exposure to estate law. There will be others who specialize within this field, whose practices revolve around duties related to estates.
Furthermore, different estate firms will specialize in different kinds of clientele. There will be firms that deal with the estates of the ultra-wealthy, whose specialization may include avoiding estate taxes. Other firms may focus on providing an affordable probate attorney who deals with the estates of common people or middle-class civilians. Instead of minimizing estate taxes only applicable to high-value properties, these lawyers focus on ensuring that the testator’s will represents how they wanted their properties distributed. They may also work to ensure successors have quick and affordable access to the deceased’s properties.
Make sure any lawyer whose services you are considering has the experience, either through their education or through their work, in the area of estate law. Consider further what clientele they deal with and the properties and estates they are used to managing. Finding a lawyer who has dealt with clients whose estate needs resemble your own is the goal.
Rely On The Experiences Of People You Know
Once you have identified a group of estate lawyers equipped with the experience to deal with your estate, the next question is how to choose between them. Here the use of referrals is pivotal. The experience of your family members, close friends, and trusted co-workers can give you a greater level of context as to the skills and temperament of the lawyer.
Enquire about their experiences and what they liked and disliked about the lawyer. Were they easy to work with, and did they efficiently manage their tasks? Referrals from people in your life give you insight that will not be available on any website advertising estate services or any other medium. These referrals are more likely to be catered to you than generic online information. Your friends, family, and people you work with are usually of a similar demographic to you, live in the same community, and interact with the same regulations and legal institutions. They are bound to have many of the same estate needs, and their experiences and suggestions can help you find the best representation.
Always Schedule Consultations Before Making Any Final Decisions
Referrals help us sift through the many estate lawyers practicing within the area toward a final list of lawyers whose services are worth considering. Once you have arrived at this final list, you must schedule a consultation with the lawyers you are considering before choosing one as your representative. Referrals are not a substitute for a personal consultation. They help you identify the best lawyers within your area, but finding the one best suited to your needs requires an in-person interaction.
During a consultation, you will meet the lawyer and discuss your estate needs. It is necessary to gauge whether the lawyer has a temperament that is easy for you to work with. Drafting a Will or managing an estate requires the disclosure of personal information and will have you dealing with sensitive issues. Your representative should be someone you feel comfortable around whose working style neatly aligns with what you are looking for as a client.
They should be someone whose work inspires confidence. A Will is the most important document you will leave behind for your loved ones that will help guarantee their bright and successful futures. There should be no doubts about the quality of your lawyer’s work, and consultations allow you to determine just how professional and skilled they are.
Make Sure The Services Are Within Your Budget
Finally, you must ensure that any lawyer whose services you are considering are within your budget. It would be counterintuitive to make an expense that adversely affects your long-term financial stability for a matter that is aimed at securing the future finances of your loved ones. Hiring a famous estate lawyer that handles the properties of celebrity clients might be desirable, but for most, it is beyond their means.
For this reason, you must be transparent about your budget with any lawyer you approach for a consultation. This can help make the process of finding your final representative much quicker, as lawyers that are outside your budget can let you know this from the onset.
Managing an estate is not a concern reserved for those with seemingly limitless wealth. Finding a lawyer to meet the needs of your estate can be a daunting task, but it can be made easier by following these four steps highlighted above. You can find the best representation to meet your needs by ensuring your representative has practiced in estate law, handled similar clients, has positive reviews from friends and family, and is of a disposition that is easy for you to engage with.