Most people prefer not to think about the end of their life. It is an emotional topic that can turn a good day into a depressing one. But despite the sadness, it is critical for adults to plan for the worst.
When a person passes away or becomes permanently incapacitated, their assets will pass to their next of kin. For married people, this is usually their spouse; for unmarried people, their parents or children. But even then, this process can be complicated.
What happens to your assets if you are separated from your spouse, or estranged from one of your children? Or if you are engaged? What if you wish to leave a bequest to charity, or to a family friend?
Planning your estate may seem premature, but no one knows when their time on Earth will be through. To ensure your loved ones are provided for, you should work with an attorney to create a plan that will support your family when you are gone.
But how do you pick an attorney in Mission Hills when there are so many to choose from?
Starting Your Search For an Estate and Trust Planning Attorney
If you’re starting from scratch, finding a lawyer can seem overwhelming. How do you narrow the field when there are so many to choose between?
Here are a few ways to direct your search and find some initial candidates:
- Ask for recommendations
One of the easiest ways to find a lawyer is through the recommendations of friends or colleagues. Ask people you trust about their experiences with estate planning; your boss or best friend might have the phone number of a stellar attorney.
Keep in mind, though, that what works for one family may not be right for all.
- Search the California State Bar website
The Bar Association in every state has their own website where you can search for accredited lawyers.
- Use Super Lawyers
The State Bar website is a great way to find accredited professionals, but it offers no further context about the attorneys. How do you know which lawyers are the most effective?
Super Lawyers is an excellent resource that can help you find successful legal representation. The attorneys in their database are chosen annually based on a multiphase selection process. Lawyers are selected based on a set of 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Mission Hills Estate Attorneys Near You
Once you’ve narrowed-down your list to a few candidates, you should contact them to get a sense of their experience.
Many lawyers offer a free consultation for new clients. You should take advantage of this and use it to interview your prospective representation.
Being a lawyer is about much more than being admitted to the state bar. You should be sure that your attorney is experienced before you decide to work with them.
Here are a few questions you can ask a potential attorney during your consultation:
- What is your experience with estate planning?
- When was the last time you helped a client plan their estate?
- What steps will we take to plan for the inevitable?
- How many hours do you expect we will work on this?
- How do you charge for your time? Hourly, a fixed fee, or on contingency? Do you require a retainer?
- Would I be working directly with you, or with a paralegal or other attorney? If so, can I speak with them now?
Many law firms are large, and can have dozens, if not a hundred, lawyers. If you hire one of these giant practices, you may not have much direct contact with the lawyer you chose at the outset.
If you want to work directly with your lawyer and not be passed off to a string of paralegals, a smaller firm may be a better fit.
Finding the Best Local Estate Lawyer
When hiring a lawyer, it’s important to remember that you have the final say. You do not have to hire the first attorney you speak with. In many cases, that would be a big mistake.
You should plan to do some comparison shopping when looking for a new lawyer. The Los Angeles metro area has thousands of legal practices, and each one has their own style and bedside manner.
It’s important to find a lawyer with whom you are comfortable. The greatest legal mind in the world will be little use to you if you get tongue-tied around them. You will need to be honest with your attorney, and you cannot do that if you are afraid that they will judge your choices.
If you feel uncomfortable with an attorney for any reason, try speaking to another. Lawyers are simply people, and you will eventually find someone who puts you at ease.
Mission Hills Estate and Trust Law Firm
The Law Offices of Larry D. Simons is proud to serve our neighbors from our Mission Hills estate planning law office. We pride ourselves on our personal approach and will work closely with you to ensure your family is provided for.
Schedule a time to speak to one of our attorneys by calling (818) 672-1778 right now.
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