Everyone needs an estate plan. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Someone with no Will or with an out-of-date Will needs the services of a qualified estate planning attorney. But not every attorney specializes in developing estate plans for clients with complicated or high-net-worth estates. Knowing what to look for in an estate planning attorney can help you have a more productive search.
As you review attorney bios, seek out attorneys who attended reputable colleges and law schools. Make sure the attorney is licensed in your state. This information is usually available on the attorney’s website or the Minnesota State Bar Association’s website. Also see if the attorney participates in any professional associations, like local bar associations.
Recognized by peers.
Recognition by peers is an important sign that the attorney is qualified and competent. Accomplishments might include membership on boards and councils or annual awards for excellence. An attorney who has earned the respect of his colleagues is worthy of your consideration.
Demonstrated expertise in estate planning.
Like doctors, some attorneys are generalists, while others specialize. It’s especially important to hire an experienced estate planning attorney if your estate has a high net worth. Complicated family or business relationships also require expert attention. One way an attorney may demonstrate their expertise is by authoring professional articles or providing advice on radio or television shows.
Some attorneys enjoy sharing their knowledge with others by teaching younger attorneys or other legal professionals. A lawyer who teaches may be more likely to stay informed about current laws and trends.
Word of mouth.
Ask other professionals for recommendations. Chances are, your financial advisers know the names of several estate planning attorneys that can help you. Also, consider asking friends and families about attorneys they have hired.
Many lawyers give back to their communities through active memberships in charitable organizations or participation in fund-raising events.
Finding a great lawyer to handle your estate plan doesn’t have to be difficult. A little research goes a long way toward finding an attorney with whom you can comfortably build a professional relationship.
At Virtus Law, we have the experience and skills to analyze your current estate plan and make any necessary changes. Contact us by calling 612.888.1000 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you in one of our conveniently-located office in Minneapolis, Edina, Mendota Heights, and Red Wing.