Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

How to Find An Estate Planning Attorney

The reality of our existence dictates we will die. Your faith or your beliefs can offer you hope and comfort, but it’s still one of the most difficult times we can face. So it’s time to discuss your property – and your loved ones – with someone who understands what you’re going through who can help you prepare for the future. You need an estate planning attorney.

Seeking an Estate Planning Attorney: What Do You Need?

Compassion – the understanding of your situation and a desire to help – is important when you’re looking for an estate planning attorney. You know what you’re doing is “business,” so you need a legal, business professional. This is also about your life and your legacy.

You are experiencing a lot of emotions right now, including the fear that your business decisions will be emotion-driven rather than logical. Your estate planning attorney should understand how you feel and ensure your decisions are best for everyone who cares about you.

10 Tips for Finding Your Estate Planning Attorney

Don’t limit yourself geographically. Some Arizona towns have populations as low as 460 residents. Your neighbor’s grandson may be the “best” attorney in town, but you’ve got the entire state of Arizona from which to choose your estate planning attorney. Here are ten tips for choosing an estate planning attorney that can meet your needs:

  1. Ask if your estate planning attorney carries malpractice insurance. Reputable Arizona attorneys invest in their communities and state. They have been and will be doing business here for a long time. An attorney who does not have malpractice insurance may not be held accountable for the monetary costs to your family if a mistake is made. It’s a major red flag.
  2. Ask your attorney if he or she is published. Do they have articles or blogs that indicate they are knowledgeable about estate planning?
  3. Avoid fake internet “directories.” Some yellow-page-like directories have misleading or incorrect information. They may even host a scammer or two. Third-party verified attorney directories like avvo.com (which has a rating system and client reviews) are trustworthy.
  4. Bar Association hotlines may not recommend an attorney based on your needs. The often have a rotating list and may simply give you the name(s) on the top of their list that day.
  5. Estate planning is a practice area of law and not every attorney has experience in that area. Make sure your estate planning attorney is knowledgeable and experienced about estate planning laws in Arizona.
  6. Find out in which local, county, state, and national organizations your estate planning attorney has memberships, especially professional organizations. It’s important for lawyers to keep up-to-date on their areas of practice.
  7. Get professional referrals from your personal attorney, a trusted accountant, or a financial advisor.
  8. No attorney can tell you exactly what your legal costs may be before understanding the complexities of your estate, but they should be able to offer some idea. On the other hand, when an attorney says he or she has the same flat, fixed rate for everyone, it’s a good indicator the attorney doesn’t offer in-depth, personalized service.
  9. Pay attention to punctuation on their websites, especially more than one exclamation point. This sounds silly, but some attorneys overdo it online with a lot of hype and slogans. Do they want to sell you or help you? Your estate planning attorney should care more about doing the right thing for you than billing hours.
  10. Where did your estate planning attorney attend law school? You can check online to see if they graduated from a recognized school of law in the United States.

Putting an Estate Plan in Place

Life is full of changes and unexpected events. Ogborne Law estate planning puts protection in place for your family and your assets. In a perfect world, estate planning would be completed before and as part of marital and divorce planning. Also, estate planning would be changed following every child’s birth and kept up-to-date throughout your life.

It’s never too late to safeguard the people and the property you value.