Important Steps and Must-Dos When Choosing the Best Estate Planning Attorney Near Me

Orange County estate planning attorney

It’s never too early to start making plans for your estate. Choosing an Orange County estate planning attorney is the first step to creating a solid, reliable estate plan that will fulfill your wishes and obligations when you pass away.

If you have never hired an attorney before, the idea can be overwhelming. However, it’s worth the effort to find an expert to make sure that your plans will benefit your loved ones.

These guidelines can help you find the right attorney for your situation.

  1. Identify Your Needs

Before you start your search, it’s a good idea to make a list of your main estate planning needs. That will help you find an attorney who focuses in those areas. 

Common documents included in estate planning are your will, trust, guardianship declarations, powers of attorney, and more. However, if you have some specific concerns, it’s best to go into your search with those in mind.

Providing for a disabled beneficiary might require some additional planning beyond the basic estate plan process. If you have assets in multiple states, or even outside the US, it’s a good idea to look for someone who can help you handle that.

Your specific areas of concern can guide your search for a skilled and reliable attorney. 

  1. Learn the Basics of Estate Planning

To get the most out of your meetings with an attorney, consider doing some research about estate planning basics to get a better idea of your options. Information available online provides tremendous resources for learning about the law. 

Consider setting aside some time to learn what a pour-over will is, or about the different types of trusts available. You can also search for information that is relevant to your individual circumstances as well.

Learning these things ahead of time will make it easier to make important decisions when you set up your estate plan. You’ll also be able to have a more productive consultation with your attorney when you sit down with them.

  1. Find a Skilled Attorney

Estate planning can be a complex field with many legal intricacies. While many lawyers work in this field, not all make it their focus.

Someone who works in estate planning has the experience needed to prepare your documents and draft a plan that covers your main concerns. 

If you have even more specific needs, you can look for specialists within the estate planning field. If you’re concerned about avoiding probate fees, you can seek out an Orange County probate attorney.

If you have children who are still minors, you may want to find a lawyer who can help you create a trust with stipulations that will keep them financially secure until they reach adulthood. Other people may want to create a Medicare trust that will enable them to access health benefits. 

An attorney with years of experience can provide valuable insight into your unique financial situation and help you make informed decisions that will benefit your loved ones. 

  1. Schedule Consultations

Many attorneys and law firms offer free initial consultations for potential clients. Meeting with an attorney in person gives you the chance to go over your case briefly and determine whether you are a good fit for the services they provide. 

You may want to meet with multiple attorneys before committing to one. Just one meeting can help you get a sense of each attorney’s style, law experience, and even educational background. Feel free to ask important questions about each of their certifications and specializations. 

Another important part of consultations is finding someone you feel comfortable working with. While you can research an attorney ahead of time, you can’t know for sure what it’ll be like to talk to them until you meet in person. 

  1. Ask for Referrals

Recommendations and referrals can help you narrow down your list of attorneys to consider. 

Recommendations from family and friends can help you find a trustworthy attorney, while personal experiences can tell you a lot about an attorney and his or her methods. 

You can also ask for referrals from other legal professionals you trust. They may be able to direct you to the right people they have worked with and found to be dependable and effective.

The internet also hosts plenty of reviews of different law offices, and you can refer to these before choosing one to learn about the staff, parking situation, and other considerations. 

A well-respected lawyer is a valuable ally when it’s time to create an estate plan that will serve you and your family’s best interests. 

  1. Understand Their Fees

Before committing to an estate planning attorney, you should have a clear conversation about the fees they plan to charge. 

Lawyers generally have a retainer agreement that describes how they charge for their services. Different lawyers may have different fee structures, ranging from a flat fee to regular payments. There are lawyers who offer free consultations, but some may charge for the initial consultation. 

Your attorney should be transparent and communicative on all fronts, especially regarding payment. Asking about fee structures can help you screen people out and find a lawyer with a positive attitude and great communication skills, which are two very important traits.

  1. Ask About the Law Office Team

Most law offices have a whole team working to keep the business organized, usually including multiple attorneys or legal professionals. 

When you hire an attorney, it’s a good idea to make sure the entire legal team is professional and capable. Many legal assistants have the qualifications and experience necessary to keep the office running smoothly. 

Before you choose an attorney, ask how they divide legal responsibilities. Assistants and paralegals do important work, but you’ll want to make sure that your attorney will be handling the most challenging aspects of your estate planning.

Plan Your Estate with a Trusted Estate Planning Attorney

Our law office offers expert guidance from an experienced Orange County attorney. We can answer questions related to probate, estate planning, and trust administration.
To schedule a consultation and learn more about our services, you may request an appointment by visiting our website or you may contact us at Parker Law Offices today!

Maria Parker assists her clients plan for their end of life health care wishes and the ultimate distribution of their wealth after death. She personally experienced the importance of planning at the time her father passed away.

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Estate Planning Attorney in Orange County, CA
Wills & Trusts, Estate & Trust Administration, Probate, and Health Care Power of Attorney
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