Hiring an Estate Lawyer: What You Need to Know

As you navigate the world of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, you need to have the very best team at your service. After all, will and estate preparation is one of life’s most important undertakings. Throughout life, you will acquire a number of possessions and assets. It is your right to decide the outcome and distribution of the things you treasure most to the individuals you treasure most.

That is why it is so important that you do your homework when it comes to selecting your estate or probate lawyer. Choosing the right legal support for your needs can greatly facilitate and streamline the process. You want a lawyer who can explain the most complex procedures and rules in layman’s terms. 

Many individuals are reluctant to acknowledge mortality and fail to do their due diligence when it comes to arrangements and planning. Poorly executed wills, or dying intestate, make matters infinitely more complicated for grieving loved ones. By adequately planning a will, you can move on with your life with the peace-of-mind knowing that everything is in place.

Since 1884, individuals from all walks of life have entrusted the legal expertise of Lees & Lees with the preparation of their last will and testament. We help you avoid disagreements, legal disputes, and time-consuming processes.

We have assembled this list of criteria to help you in your search for an estate lawyer. We encourage you to reach out to one of our representatives should you have any inquiries.

1) Experience and Qualifications

As the old saying goes, there is no substitute for experience. Make sure you choose an estate lawyer with years of experience, along with the qualifications, and credentials to back it up.

At the initial consultation or interview, request specific information on your estate lawyer’s experience. Ask about the various branches of law in which they have service experience. Ascertain that all the relevant credentials are up to date.

An experienced and qualified lawyer will be more than happy to share their career journey thus far. This way, you can be certain of establishing a good and trustworthy rapport on both a personal and professional basis.

2) Expertise in Probate, Trusts, Estate Management, and Will Drafting

Preparing wills and estates involves a distinctly multifaceted approach. It is always advisable to ensure that your chosen lawyer has experience in all the various avenues. From assigning beneficiaries and powers of attorney to preparing inventories of assets, there are many steps to consider.

When completing your search for a lawyer, make sure that they are familiar with all various steps and considerations of the process. Ensure that they know the laws and regulations specific to your area.

Life changes, and your estate plan will likely change along with it. You’ll want your lawyer to have unmatched expertise— after all, you may need them for revisiting and reassessing your plan.

3) Fees and Methods of Charging

For your estate planning services, your lawyer will likely bill you by a flat fee or by an hourly rate. Generally, simple estate planning is charged by an hourly fee while more complex or extensive work needs will entail an hourly rate.

Several factors will dictate the cost of your estate planning. Namely, the size of your estate, the number and nature of your assets, and other matters specific to your family. The cost of probate and tax consequences are additional areas of interest.

Any reputable estate lawyer won’t have a problem with disclosing their fees during the consultation.

4) Communication Abilities

Preparing a will and estate requires thought, planning, and a great detail of communication. It is crucial that you develop good communication rapport with your lawyer.

A good estate lawyer will not only be knowledgeable and informative to speak with but will also listen attentively to your needs and desires. It is their job to articulate complex and technical language in a way that is easily understandable to all.

At the initial consultation, make sure the dynamic of communication is a good and effective one.

5) No Conflicts of Interest

It is very important that your chosen estate lawyer has no conflict of interest with you or your estate plans. Your estate or probate lawyer should be strictly impartial, and not be included in your will as a beneficiary. While this may seem fairly obvious – not to select a friend or family member— the reality is that conflicts of interest can significantly affect your lawyer’s approach and duties to you.

Ensure that you select an objective individual for your estate lawyer to avoid further complications down the road.

6) Referrals, Recommendations, and References

If you are having difficulty in selecting the right estate lawyer, it is always wise to seek referrals and recommendations from trusted loved ones. Friends or family members who have dealt with estate law in the past may have valuable insights to provide you.

Friends and family aren’t the only ones who can advise you. Your financial advisor, investment advisor, or accountant may also be able to provide recommendations. They will attest to the reputation and track record of an estate lawyer.

Many people can help you in making this important decision.

7) Association and Membership

While it might seem obvious, when you do your research on an estate lawyer, be sure that they are included in the bar association in your area. Also, verify memberships in other groups or organizations, and ensure they are licensed and in good standing. Testimonials are also a great way to help you choose the best estate lawyer for you.

By selecting the estate lawyer who is right for your needs, you can be confident of a good outcome that leaves no detail overlooked.

For all your estate planning needs, or simply to consult and advise, look no further than Lees & Lees. A consultation with one of our lawyers will leave you informed and enlightened. We can assist you in preparing for the future with confidence.