In most cases, a person’s estate simply means their home and the immediate area surrounding it. However, it also means the collective net worth a person accumulates over their lives. This includes your savings, house, belongings, and everything else you owned under your name. So when you die, your estate will have to be sorted out as per your will, if you left one. For this purpose, we have estate planning attorneys. But as with all things, not all attorneys are created equal, so if you’re meeting with an estate planning lawyer in New York, and you want to know if you’ve found the right one, here are some tips to help you decide.
#1. Look for Experience
Handling the estate of the deceased can be a delicate, often complicated matter. You want to make sure the attorney you’re talking to has done this before at least once, ideally twice. Thankfully, this is a rather common occurrence with lawyers and attorneys, so this shouldn’t be too hard. Still, several years of experience, with this particular aspect of the job specifically, is ideal, since that will mean the process will be smooth and painless.
A lawyer can focus on whatever specific part of his job he pleases, from insurance disputes to defense in court. Estate planning is no different, so many lawyers zero in on this niche of their job to, hopefully, provide a more focused service. However, it definitely has its perks to hire a jack of all trades lawyer. A lawyer not tied down to one set of rules and methods brings more varied viewpoints to the job. And for a complex problem like sorting out the affairs and estate of the recently deceased, someone who can juggle more than one way of doing their job in general is required.
#3. Flat Fee or Hourly Rate?
This is something you should find out as early as possible, so you can plan for it, either by planning your payment around the plan or jumping ship if it’s too much. Most estate planning lawyers charge a non-negotiable fee for their services, but always be sure to ask the one you’re hiring if that’s the case with them, just to be safe. If this isn’t the case, it isn’t necessarily a reason to dump them, rather, it’s all a matter of which plan you can afford. If you can handle it either way, then there’s no problem.
The ideal attorney for this sort of situation is one who’s adaptable, has a wide variety of experience, and is innovative in their thinking. Remember that, and the above steps, and the right attorney for you is right around the corner. Give Neufeld, O’Leary & Giusto a call today.