How to Find a Good Estate Planner
Estate planning is a critical part of financial planning, but something many Americans procrastinate about. Yet drafting a will and a health care proxy or power of attorney, maybe creating a trust, and maximizing your loved ones’ inheritances by minimizing taxes, are all important matters you don’t want to leave to chance.
Taking care of these key tasks correctly limits the potential for family turmoil and possible legal battles should you become incapacitated, as well as after your death. An estate planner can help you prevent crucial missteps and assist you in adjusting your plans as your circumstances, and laws, change.
Here are some helpful tips to consider:
Experience is critically important. Knowledge and specialized experience comes with being well-versed and up-to-date with the laws of your state. Otherwise, your estate plan could be deemed invalid by the court.
Ask What, and How, the Estate Planner Charges
The amount you’ll spend depends on the complexity of your needs, your location and your attorney’s experience level. Many offer packages, which will include multiple documents for one set price, such as a power of attorney (authorizing someone to make financial or legal decisions for you when you can’t) and other advance directives.
A trust may cost more, but can help save on estate taxes, avoid probate (proving in court that a will is valid), save on time and court fees and put conditions on the disposition of your assets after you die.
Some estate-planning attorneys charge by the hour. As a rule of thumb, these lawyers typically have hourly fees of $250 to $550. If you’ll use one who charges by the hour, ask approximately how long the process will take, so you have an idea of the total cost from the outset. Most estate planning can and should be done on a flat-fee basis with the understanding that updates are needed over the years as your situation — or even the law — changes.
Recognize This Is an Ongoing Relationship
While interviewing estate planners, be certain that you’ll feel comfortable with the person you choose. Since you’ll be sharing personal details of your life and finances, you’ll want to feel comfortable and listened to. A good estate planner should pay attention to even the smallest details and ask questions about your situation to tailor a plan unique to you and your needs.
At Tacoma Elder Care, we are always working on ways to help you. If you are just beginning to think about your planning, we highly recommend attending one of our FREE workshops to learn more about how to start, and the most important documents everyone needs to have in place. Contact us today to register, or to schedule a FREE consultation.
Bob Michaels is a shareholder at Smith Alling, P.S. in Tacoma, WA, and focuses his practice on elder law/estate planning, business and real estate matters. Bob’s daily practice consists of working with clients in preparing life-plan documents, such as Wills, Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, Community Property Agreements and other documents to determine the management and disposition of our clients’ affairs in the event of disability or death. Contact Bob today to schedule your FREE consultation.
11/19/2019 06:26:02 am
I liked that you mentioned you can ask friends and family for recommendations to find an estate planner. A friend of my father recommended him to hire an estate planner, and we are looking for advice. I will let him know about the benefits of estate planning to help his decision.
2/11/2020 12:24:49 pm
Thanks for mentioning that an estate planner helps prevent critical mistakes and aids in fixing plans as different circumstances and laws change. My brother is considering looking for an estate planning attorney because he's thinking about dividing the property he owns equally among his children if he should suddenly pass away. I think it's a good investment to hire a reputable professional that can help him plan his estate and keep it updated as law should be subject to change.
3/11/2020 01:13:35 pm
It was interesting to learn about how a planner should pay attention to the smallest details because they will have an ongoing relationship as life progresses.my cousin is thinking about planning out her life so that she can be smarter with her money. She would really like to get some help from a professional so that she can have a lot of help seeing how much she wants to plan her life.
4/30/2020 07:14:53 pm
My grandfather's health is starting to deteriorate, therefore, he's considering to hire an estate attorney who'd help him with his assets' dissemination. I'm glad you shared this; we'll make sure to ask the prospective lawyer on how long will the process take since they'll ask for hourly fees. We'll also make sure to hire a lawyer that will ask even about the smallest details so he'll be able to come up with a plan out of the information.
5/29/2020 12:04:48 pm
I like your tip about finding someone who specializes in estate planning. I want to start planning for my future. So, I'll be on the lookout for an estate lawyer.
5/29/2020 03:22:00 pm
My cousin has been looking for an estate planning lawyer recently. So that's helpful to know that you should look for a lawyer who specializes in that field. I think I'll send my cousin this article, so he can see if there are any tips here that will help in his search.
6/1/2020 10:50:58 am
It's valuable that you point out that an estate planning attorney can help you create a will. I want to make sure my assets go to the right people in the event of my death, so I'm thinking about hiring an estate planning attorney. I'm going to look for a reputable estate planning attorney in my area to use.
6/2/2020 09:21:19 am
It was really helpful when you said to find an attorney that specializes in it. My mom was telling me last night about how she and my dad are wanting to look into estate planning in a couple of weeks, but they want to hire a professional to help them because a lot of it is confusing. I'll make sure to pass this information along to them so that they can know how to find a good estate planning attorney.
7/21/2020 04:34:24 pm
My grandfather has been having a lot of problems keeping track of things and he isn't sure how to manage things or how to get things done after he dies. Getting a professional to help him understand and put together a will could be really useful and allow his wishes to be fulfilled. I liked what you said about how he should try and see then at least every two years and they will be able to fight legal battles after their death.
8/6/2020 04:52:43 am
It's great to have knowledge about Estate Planning. Where and when you should seek for assistance of a Professionals. Thank you.
8/25/2020 01:02:26 am
It is a perfect guide if you are looking for an estate planner
9/30/2020 12:11:26 pm
I find it amazing that this post reminded us to hire a lawyer who specializes in estate planning because they are informed of the law in that area. My uncle was recently diagnosed with a terminal disease and is planning to have an estate planner sort his estates. I will remind him to hire someone who is well-trained in the field of specialty.
10/8/2020 09:14:54 am
I appreciate this article for providing reliable tips that could help everyone to find a good estate lawyer. The topic is very useful.
10/12/2020 10:09:34 pm
I found it helpful when you mentioned searching for an attorney who specialized in estate planning law. My friend was just diagnosed with stomach cancer where he is only left with a few months to live and he is very worried about his children who are still young. I will advise him to hire a reliable estate planning lawyer who is experienced in handling a similar situations to prepare a will for him.
10/15/2020 08:50:10 am
My uncle is wondering if there's a way to handle most of his assets once he passes away. What you said about how estate planning is made entirely for that is very interesting. I'll share this with him so he'd have a guide on how to look for an estate planner.
11/30/2020 02:01:06 am
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12/2/2020 09:05:14 am
It's valuable that you mention that using an estate planning lawyer can help increase the amount of money that your family can inherit after you die. I want to make sure that my family is taken care of financially in case I die, so I'm thinking about engaging the services of an estate planning attorney. I'm going to search for a good estate planning lawyer in my area to use.
12/16/2020 03:57:44 pm
My dad has been thinking about planning for when he dies, and what should happen to his items. He would really like to get some help from a professional. I liked what you said about how he should get recommendations from people they trust and work with.
12/16/2020 04:00:04 pm
You made a lot of great points about how to find the best estate, planner. I liked your comment about how it is critically important for an attorney to have a lot of experience in estate planning. I would imagine it being equally important for an estate planner to have a good success rate history so you can know that they are good at what they do.
2/5/2021 10:47:23 am
Thank you for pointing out that hiring an estate planning attorney to help you create a will can help prevent family conflicts after your death. I want to make sure that my assets are distributed to my family fairly after I die, so I'm considering engaging the services of an estate planning lawyer. I'm going to search for a reputable estate planning lawyer in the area that I can use.
2/26/2021 08:56:55 am
I have a friend who's thinking of setting up a trust for his two kids to ensure that they'll have money in the future. He could really use your information that this will help him avoid probate and save both time and court fees. Maybe it would be best for him to find a reliable trust planner so he can discuss the amount he wants and ensure it's properly set up so that he can get these benefits.
2/26/2021 09:14:05 am
It's cool that you mention that an estate planning attorney can help maximize the amount of money that your family can inherit from you. I'd my kids to get as much money as possible when I die, so I'm considering hiring an estate planning lawyer this year. I'm going to look for a good estate planning attorney in my area to use.
3/11/2021 09:01:29 pm
I appreciate that this post highlighted that when considering an estate planning attorney, it is important for us to ensure that they are experienced in managing estate planning. My aunt is looking to hire an estate planner to have her affairs are will managed. I will recommend her to hire a reputable attorney to help her have her will and trust settled in the event of her demise.
3/29/2021 08:11:07 am
It's great that you point out that estate planning can help you decide what will happen to your assets after you die. I'd like to ensure that my children inherit most of my money, so I'm thinking about hiring an estate planning attorney. I'm going to look for a good estate planning lawyer that I can hire.
4/9/2021 12:09:56 pm
Thank you for elaborating on how estate planning can benefit your family financially. I want to make sure that my family will be ok when I die, so I'm considering hiring an estate planner. I'm going to look for a reputable provider of estate planning services that I can hire.
6/16/2021 11:57:12 am
Thank you for talking about what estate planning costs and what it depends on. My grandparents are getting older and we want to help them with their estate planning soon. We will find a good will and estate planning lawyer in their area.
7/12/2021 08:56:15 am
I like that you mentioned finding someone who lives near you so that you can have in-person meetings. I have been struggling with all the zoom and remote working stuff, my daughter has to help me constantly so that is really important to me. Thank you for your work on this article about finding an estate lawyer it has been super helpful!
10/2/2021 03:05:36 am
There are cases where estate planning may involve resolving some outstanding liabilities, like issues with property <a href="https://www.roofersnottinghamgrp.co.uk">roofing</a>. Those are really interesting scenarios.
2/7/2023 01:53:02 pm
There seem to be a lot of details involved with the documentation. My wife and I just want a will but don't know where to start. We'll have to hire a lawyer to help with the paperwork.
3/9/2023 03:27:47 pm
It was helpful when you said to find a local professional so you can meet with them in person! Yesterday afternoon, I was at my grandma's house for dinner, and she talked about how she wants to start working on her will, so she wants to find a professional to help her. I'll pass these tips along to her so she can know how to find an estate planner.
3/21/2023 03:48:33 pm
Great tip about trying to find someone local. My wife and I need to get a lawyer. We want to write our will.
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