How to Pick an Estate Planning Attorney – Six Questions You Should Ask as Part of Your Financial Planning
Estate planning is a key component of any comprehensive financial plan. We cover this annually with our clients as part of the financial planning process. Establishing or reviewing your estate plan starts with selecting the right attorney to help you through the process. Here are six key questions you should ask when interviewing an attorney:
- How long have you been practicing as an estate planning attorney? What are your credentials and training?
- Do you primarily focus on estate planning and estate law, or do you do you spend a significant amount of time practicing other types of law?
- What is the profile of your typical client? (speaks to how you fit into their practice)
- How do you stay informed on estate tax law changes and new industry planning strategies over time?
- How have the most recent estate tax law changes impacted the plans that you design? (there is not a right answer here, but it is important to see how he/she answers the question. I would look for signs that they are aware of the new estate tax laws and have adapted their plans/recommendations to account for the new laws)
- How will the costs for our engagement be calculated? Do you charge hourly, a flat fee, or some other method?
Outside of these questions, you should select an attorney or law practice that will grow with you. It is great to select an experienced attorney, but if he or she won’t be practicing in five years, it may not be a good fit unless you are comfortable that there is a succession plan in place for your attorney. Ensuring that your needs will be met both now and in the future is an important consideration.