People don’t like thinking about the end of their lives. It is an emotional subject that can turn a good day into a bad one. But despite the potential feelings of sadness, it is critical for adults to plan for the inevitable.
“You may think estate planning is only for the wealthy or affluent families, but most people and families need an estate plan,” says attorney Larry Simons. You deserve the peace of mind that you’ve addressed any potential legal issues related to your death. Having an effective estate plan and the necessary estate planning documents ensures your final wishes will be carried out.
When a person passes away, their assets will usually go to their next of kin. For married people, this is their spouse. If you aren’t married, your heirs may be your children or your parents. But this process can become very complicated, very quickly.
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? What if you have a disabled child or family member who requires special needs planning?
When you’re in the prime of your life, planning your estate may seem premature. But if you want to know your loved ones and minor children are provided for, you should work with an estate planning attorney now to create a plan that will support your family when you are gone.
But how do you pick a qualified estate planning attorney in Riverside when there are so many to choose from?
Starting Your Search for an Estate and Trust Planning Attorney
It can seem difficult to find a lawyer if you’re starting from scratch. When there are so many options, how do you narrow it down?
Here are a few reliable ways to start your search and find some initial candidates:
- Ask for personal recommendations
The easiest way to find a lawyer is through a personal recommendation. Ask people you trust about their experiences with estate planning firms. You may be surprised that your boss or best friend has the contact information for a well-qualified lawyer.
- Search the California State Bar website
The Bar Association in every state has its own website where you can search for accredited lawyers by practice area.
The State Bar website can be used to find licensed professionals, but it doesn’t provide any real world context about the attorneys. How can you choose the best lawyer?
Super Lawyers is a great resource that can help you find legal representation. Each year, the attorneys in their database are selected based on a multiphase selection process. Peer recognition and professional achievement are two of the twelve indicators used to choose lawyers.
Meet With Estate Planning Attorneys Near You
Once you have a few potential attorneys on your list, you should reach out to them and set up a time to meet.
Many lawyers offer a free consultation for new clients. You should take advantage of this and use it to interview your prospective representation. Remember, this is your opportunity to make sure you are comfortable with the lawyer and that you fully understand their process for preparing your estate plan.
Eight Questions You Should Ask an Estate Attorney Before Hiring Them
- Is estate planning one of your specialties?
- How long have you been practicing?
- What steps will we take to plan for the inevitable?
- How long should I expect the estate planning process to take?
- How do you charge for your time? Hourly or a fixed fee? Do you require any upfront payment?
- What documents will be included in my estate plan?
- Will I have a chance to review my documents before they’re signed?
- If you aren’t available, who else would I be working with? A paralegal or other attorney? If so, can I speak with them now?
Being a good lawyer is about much more than being admitted to the state bar. You should feel confident your attorney is experienced in all aspects of estate planning before you decide to work with them.
You’ll also want to consider the size of the firm. Some practices have dozens of attorneys. They also have paralegals and other support staff. If you hire a large practice, you may not end up working with the attorney you met in your original consultation.
If you prefer the personal touch, a smaller firm may be a better fit.
Finding the Best Local Estate Planning Lawyer
Remember, you have the final say when hiring a lawyer. You don’t have to use the first attorney you speak with. In some cases, that would be a big mistake.
You should plan to do some comparison shopping when looking for a new lawyer. There are thousands of legal practices in the Riverside metro area, each with its own style and way of doing things.
It’s important to find a lawyer with whom you are comfortable. Even the best lawyer in town will be less effective if you don’t feel you can be honest with them. You will need to be open 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. You deserve to work with someone you like and trust – and rest assured, there is a right fit attorney out there for you.
Riverside Estate and Trust Law Firm
The Law Offices of Larry D. Simons is proud to serve our neighbors from our Riverside estate planning law office. We pride ourselves on our personal approach and will work with you to ensure your family is taken care of.
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