For those of you looking for your weekly myth, sadly, our myth series has run its course. Now that we have covered commonly asked questions and the top 10 myths, I wanted to leave you with a few helpful tips- these tips are universal and not just for selecting an estate planning attorney.
- Be open and honest with your lawyer
- Your attorney is trained to know what is important. Chances are if they are asking about it, they need to know about it. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but it could completely change their advice to you.
- Make sure you are comfortable with your lawyer
- Feeling comfortable with your lawyer will significantly increase your ability to be open and honest with him or her. This is key for you to get the best advice and for your own piece of mind. Even if your attorney gives you the best advice in the world, if you are not comfortable with him or her, you may never fully trust what they’ve said.
- Don’t price shop
- Cutting corners now can cost you big time in the end. We are seeing a rash of people trying to do things on their own or do things piece meal because they are trying to save money. While I will be the first to wait for a sale, cut coupons, and look for the best deal, legal dealings are not always the best place to do so. Certainly you should inquire as to fees and not blindly hand over your hard earned cash.
- Ask family and friends for referrals if you don’t know who to go to
- Asking someone one who has actually worked with an attorney if they liked them can be far more effective than picking a name out of a random list. However, keep in mind your friend or family member’s personality. If you are nothing like your cousin, will the same attorney work for you? Ask the person what they liked and disliked about the person they are recommending. Then decide if those are qualities you are looking for as well.
- Have a trusted financial advisor or accountant? They can make referrals as well
- Accountants and financial advisors work with attorneys all the time. They have seen the attorney in action and can make a referral based on real interactions.
Have a happy and healthy new year!
Lindsay Schoeneberger is an attorney at Russell, Krafft and Gruber, LLP in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She received her law degree from Widener University School of Law and practices in a variety of areas, including Estate Planning.