An estate planning attorney is an expert who can help you determine your end-of-life goals and complete the appropriate paperwork. They can also help you avoid tax penalties, save money on probate costs and ensure your family is cared for at your death.
They specialize in a variety of legal services, including estate law, taxes and trust administration. They may also have experience with charitable and legacy giving.
Know Your Needs
An estate planning attorney can help you create or update a will, trusts and other legal documents that align with your wishes. They also can answer your questions on probate, tax issues and other legal matters that may arise when you die or become incapacitated.
To start, think about your needs. Ask yourself what brings you “warm fuzzies” or happiness in your life, as well as satisfaction and meaning.
Make a list of your needs and write them on small pieces of paper. Then, lay them out in front of you on a table or other surface.
You should be able to identify five to seven critical things without which you would not be able to imagine living a full life.
Once you have a list of your needs, it is time to look for an estate planning attorney who specializes in your particular needs. Often, you can find these attorneys by asking friends or family members for a referral or by searching online.
Look for Experience
When it comes to choosing a Charleston estate planning attorney, experience is a very important factor. An experienced lawyer can provide a comprehensive plan that will help you meet your goals, while also protecting your assets.
Estate planners must be able to decipher complex legal language and understand the many different elements that make up an estate plan. This means that they need to be knowledgeable about tax laws, property law, and trusts and wills.
Ideally, you should interview several estate planning attorneys before you choose one to work with. This will allow you to get a better feel for the personalities of each one.
You should also check to see whether the attorney has a written fee agreement before you sign it, as some charge by the hour. It’s best to know this ahead of time so you can budget accordingly and avoid unpleasant billing surprises.
Get a Referral
Getting a referral from a trusted source is the best way to find an estate planning attorney who will be right for your needs. You can ask friends and family, your local bar association or even your financial advisor for a referral.
A good estate planning attorney will have experience drafting a will, powers of attorney and basic trusts. However, they might also specialize in specific areas such as long term care planning or international estate planning.
If you do end up working with an attorney, make sure you have a thorough consultation so that you can find the right person for you. You’ll want to talk with them about your estate planning needs and get a feel for their personality and professionalism.
Referral relationships are an important part of your business. They help you build client retention and grow your practice. You can maintain these relationships with consistent communication and a value-based billing model.
If you have an inquisitive mind, the chances are that you will naturally ask questions. This type of questioning is important because it can help you learn something new from the answer, or even spark a conversation that could lead to a greater understanding of a topic.
When it comes to finding the right estate planning attorney, asking questions is a crucial step in the process. Make a list of attorneys who specialize in your specific needs and interview them using a set of prepared questions.
The answers to these questions will tell you whether or not a prospective attorney is right for you. They can also help you determine if you’re comfortable with their bedside manner and general values.