Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to Find the Best Estate Planning Attorney for You


When you are ready to put your estate in order, just as important as it is to do that, it is also very important to choose the best possible attorney to help you in this matter. After all, this person is going to be helping you put your financial house in order for your heirs, and this is a very important part of your life since you have spent your life gaining the assets you have acquired.

So how do you know if you're dealing with the right attorney for you? The right professional will have an orientation toward relationship-building and counseling rather than just document preparation. The first thing they should offer is the ability to listen carefully to not only your goals - but also your hopes, dreams, and aspirations for yourself and your loved ones. The attorney should carry on a sensitive dialogue that will enable you to make clear your wishes to maintain control over your affairs, how to be cared for properly in the event of a disability and how to provide for your loved ones once you pass away.

This of course is the first step that I take with my clients when they meet with me in my office.
You must also understand what proper estate planning requires. It is more than just navigating through the legal intricacies and tax laws that are related to the passing of wealth. Any competent estate planning lawyer can help with that. You need someone that goes much further and asks about things like:

·         How to meet your philanthropic goals after you are gone
·         How to fund the education of offspring for several generations
·         How to care for the surviving spouse if there is one
·         How to manage the family business if there is one
·         Special needs for a child or family member after you pass away
·         Special needs for a pet after you are no longer her to care for it

And much more.

The right Estate Planning attorney will also work together with other members of the estate planning team like your financial advisor, CPA, and insurance professionals. Estate planning is much more than just document preparation and you need a capable attorney that truly understands that.

Aside from that you want someone with years of experience who has a good reputation. Someone who not only knows the laws well themselves but also takes the time to educate their clients on these laws. Here at Tompkins Law, we have created a series of videos to help answer many questions that pertain to your estate plan.  Not only has this firm been in business for over 21 years, but we strive to educate the public on proper estate planning. 

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