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How to Find an Estate Planning Attorney

07/08/2024 | Blog
Happy young family choosing an estate planning attorney in California

Estate planning attorneys help people make decisions regarding what should happen to their assets when they pass away. This involves drafting various documents, such as wills and trusts, but also providing valuable advice and guidance. After all, California estate planning laws are complex.

It’s important you have a lawyer on your side who can explain how these laws affect you. Given the vital role that your lawyer plays in your financial planning, it’s crucial you choose your attorney wisely.

Below, we outline five tips for how to find a good estate planning attorney in California.

1. Know Your Estate Planning Goals

To choose the best lawyer for you, it’s important to know what you need from your attorney. Even if you’re unsure what your estate plan should include, you should think about what your overall goals are. Then you can choose the attorney best placed to help you achieve those objectives.

For example, maybe you’re looking for financial security in your senior years. Or you want to ensure that your family is provided for. Knowing your goals will ensure you choose the right attorney for you.

2. Choose Attorneys who Specialize in Estate Planning

Experienced estate planning lawyers have up-to-date legal knowledge. They understand how to create estate plans tailored to individual clients, and they know the pitfalls to avoid. They can also help you achieve specific goals, such as reducing estate taxes and avoiding probate.

Always check that your lawyer specializes in estate planning. Otherwise, there’s a risk they won’t fully understand the nuances involved in this complex area of law.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

The best estate planning attorney makes you feel comfortable. If you don’t find your lawyer approachable, then they’re not the right attorney for you. Questions you should ask before hiring an estate planning attorney include:

  • How will we communicate?
  • What is your fee structure – is it hourly or flat rate?
  • Who will handle my estate plan?
  • How frequently will I receive updates on my estate plan?
  • How long have you been in practice as an estate planning lawyer?
  • What happens if I’m unhappy with how my estate plan is progressing?

Ask as many questions as you need before choosing your attorney. Your estate plan is too precious to leave anything to chance.

4. Read Reviews and Testimonials

Check online for law firm reviews. Even if there aren’t many reviews, this is okay. You’re just looking for a pattern of consistently positive reviews. This suggests that past clients are happy with the services provided – and you will be, too.

You can also ask trusted family and friends for a professional recommendation.

5. Look for Professional Memberships and Qualifications

The best estate planning attorneys take professional development seriously. They’re usually members of professional organizations or hold specific titles.

Attorney Alice Salvo, for example, is a “Certified Specialist” in estate planning, trust, and probate law. She’s one of the few CA attorneys awarded this title by the California Bar. She has also served as:

  • President of Southern California Council of Elder Law Attorneys
  • President of San Fernando Valley Estate Planning Council
  • Chairperson of the Probate Section of the San Fernando Bar Association

Choose an attorney with a clear, demonstrable commitment to estate planning. This is the level of experience and knowledge you deserve.

Arrange a Consultation with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney in California

Do you need a California estate planning attorney? Look no further than the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo. As highly experienced estate planning lawyers, we understand what matters to you and what concerns you may have. We’ll help you understand your legal options so you can make the right decisions for you and your family.

Get the peace of mind you deserve. Call now or complete our contact form to arrange a meeting.