How to Choose an Estate Planning Attorney: Almost as important as creating an estate plan is hiring the right California estate planning attorney. You will need an experienced lawyer who understands California Probate Code and can discuss your options with you to craft the ideal plan for your needs, whether it includes various types of trusts, powers of attorney, advanced medical directives, or other preparations for the future. When you choose an experienced estate planning attorney like Mark Gullotta, you help ensure that your family and loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes while ensuring you plan for any unexpected events such as a disability.
Choose an Estate Planning Attorney with Focus
Many attorneys offer a broad range of services and practice areas. Still, when hiring an estate planning attorney, you should look for a lawyer who focuses on this area and has experience creating estate plans for clients at every income level, age, family size, and other factors. Lawyers experienced in the sophisticated and complicated practice area of estate planning may be more likely to know the current estate law, including any recent changes that impact your options. Further, attorneys who focus their practice on estate planning can likely spot and plan for areas in your estate plan that could potentially cause you a problem if overlooked.
Methods to verify that an attorney focuses on estate planning and is skilled in this area is to get a referral from another attorney, CPA, or financial advisor that you know as well. You can ask the attorney whether they have any published works, such as a book, law review article, or similar material, focused on estate planning so you can research beforehand.
What Should You Ask an Attorney Before Hiring Them?
Even after narrowing down your choices to California attorneys who practice estate planning, you may still need to refine your list further to help you select which lawyer may be the best fit for your needs. There are several questions you can ask each attorney to help you make this decision.
How Long Have You Been Practicing as an Estate Planning Attorney?
The length of the attorney’s experience is often a strong indicator of the amount of firsthand knowledge they may have in estate planning, how California law applies, and common issues or problems that may arise if estate plans are not thoroughly and accurately drafted.
Will You Be Creating My Estate Plan Personally?
In many firms, especially larger law firms, a partner may pass the assignment of drafting your estate plan to an associate with less experience. When looking for an attorney, you should be sure who will be doing the work and that you trust that attorney. Even if you believe the partner who handles your consultation will do a good job creating your estate plan, the associate who is handed your file may not or might not know of recent changes in California law.
How Will You Charge Me for Your Estate Planning Services?
You should also always make sure you understand beforehand how the attorney’s fee structure works for the services that will be provided. Some attorneys charge flat fees for services, such as a flat fee for drafting a will, while others may charge hourly rates. Understanding the estimated expenses and fee structure before hiring your estate planning attorney helps prevent unexpected surprises later.
Choose the Law Office of Mark Gullotta for A Free Consultation
By choosing an attorney like Mark Gullotta, who focuses only on estate planning, you can work with a lawyer with the necessary experience to understand estate planning nuances in California. Mark uses this experience to create a customized estate plan tailored to your needs and will walk you through every step to understand your options and how to accommodate any potential issues that may arise. Contact The Law Office of Mark Gullotta; you can expect Mark to create your estate plan personally while helping you understand every aspect of the process so that you know exactly the services he is providing.