How to Find a Great Estate Planning Attorney
With so many law firms, it can be challenging to find the right one for your estate planning, says Diving Daily’s recent article entitled “5 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Estate Planning Law Firm.”
The article lists the following factors you should consider when choosing an estate planning law firm.
- Your Specific Needs. Before you look for an estate planning lawyer, first determine what it is you need from the lawyer. Consider the intricacies of your estate and whether it has any complexities and special considerations. This will help you narrow down the list of legal professionals who can help you plan your estate.
- Experience. Working with an inexperienced law firm or attorney will only work to your detriment. You typically want to look for a lawyer with at least five years of experience in estate planning.
- Fees. The expense shouldn’t be your primary consideration when selecting an estate planning attorney, but it’s still worth mentioning. Make certain that you find an attorney that you can afford. However, this doesn’t mean you should hire the cheapest lawyer you can find. In most cases, you’ll end up getting what you pay for. Instead, find a lawyer with reasonable rates.
- Reputation. You want an estate planning attorney who has made a name for his or herself in estate planning law. Look at reviews and testimonials online. These are first-hand accounts of previous clients’ experiences with the law firm. They’ll help you decide whether the lawyer is worth your time and money.
- Attitude. Make an in-person appointment with the attorney before making your decision and learn about the lawyer’s attitude and demeanor. You’ll want an attorney that’s friendly and easy to talk to. You should note his or her professionalism and knowledge of estate planning.
I would add the following to that list:
- Board Certification in Estate Planning. The Louisiana Bar Association certifies a select group of attorneys as specialists in estate planning. For these attorneys, look for description as “Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist”. In addition to the bar exam that applies to all attorneys, these specialists are required to pass an estate planning specialization examination, have at least 5 years of experience in estate planning (with at least 30% of their practice in the estate planning area), and are subject to more rigorous continuing education standards than other attorneys. The list of those Louisiana attorneys can be found here: https://www.lsba.org/specialization/Specialist.aspx?Spec=Estate.
- Tax Competency. Many people who look for an estate planning attorney should also have an attorney competent in tax law, including federal estate and gift transfer taxes, as well as federal and state income taxes. If you are concerned about taxes and obtaining the best overall tax result, then an attorney knowledgeable about taxes is a must. For these attorneys, look for one that is also a CPA, or any attorney that is a “Board Certified Tax Law Specialist”. The list of those Louisiana attorneys can be found here: https://www.lsba.org/Specialization/TaxLaw.aspx?Area=Specialists
- Business Law Competency. If you are a small business owner, or have significant holdings of real estate, your attorney should also be competent in both business planning and asset protection. Many of the attorneys who are Board Certified Tax Law Specialists also are competent in business law and asset protection.
Make sure you do your due diligence to find the best people to help you plan your estate.
BOOK A CALL with me, Ted Vicknair, Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist, Board Certified Tax Law Specialist, and CPA to learn more about estate planning, incapacity planning, and asset protection.
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Reference: Diving Daily (April 26, 2022) “5 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Estate Planning Law Firm”