Lawyer

Have you accumulated wealth and properties over the years and want to legally distribute them to your family and loved ones after your passing? Estate planning is a responsible way of distributing your wealth, knowing it will be protected and handled as you intend. However, estate planning involves very complicated legal paperwork, so people opt to hire estate planning lawyers to ensure seamless transfer of assets to beneficiaries.

The first thing people do when they want to look for an estate planning lawyer is to search online. However, according to the best estate planning law firm in Vista, finding a lawyer is not that simple. You need to make efforts to do a background check and establish trust so you will feel comfortable disclosing confidential family information.

How does estate planning work?

Estate planning means making legal decisions on what will happen to properties, property rights, and even assets with loans after the owner passes. The paperwork usually involves creating wills, trusts, special power of attorney, and health care proxy. Properties can be transferred to the beneficiary if the owner dies or becomes incapacitated.

There are three advantages to having a good estate plan:

  • Your properties will go to your assigned inheritors.
  • You can give legal authority to the person you trust to manage your estate in such a situation that you become incapacitated.
  • When they inherit the properties, your heirs won’t need to pay high taxes and legal fees.
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Most estate planning lawyers are retained by their clients to help them in every phase of the estate planning process. Having a lawyer on retainer has many advantages, including strengthening the will’s validity, immediate legal assistance in case of conflicts, and helping assess potential estate tax savings.

What to look for in an estate planning lawyer

Looking for an estate lawyer is like finding the right employee for the job—one who is competent, with extensive knowledge, and someone you can trust to get the job done right. Here are the things you may want to consider:

Board certification

Consider getting someone who is not only a lawyer but also earned an estate planning certification. California, for instance, has a Legal Specialization Program that certifies legal specialists in 11 areas of the law, including estate planning, trust, and probate law.

Personal referrals

Consider an estate lawyer referred by family, friends, and colleagues, especially if they give positive feedback on previous legal work. This referral gives you a sense of security, knowing that the lawyer you will hire is known within your circle.

Focus and specialization

You want to get an estate planning lawyer specializing in this field when you have multiple assets and estates to manage. You want someone who will focus and be knowledgeable in every aspect of estate planning. You don’t want to get someone who handles an estate today and goes into business law tomorrow because the tendency is to lack knowledge in certain aspects of the field.

Establish trust

Hire an estate lawyer who makes you feel comfortable. You can establish trust initially by scheduling an initial meeting to get to know the lawyer and see if you are a good fit. Ask relevant questions related to the lawyer’s past work, fees, and what to expect if you start working together.

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Professional website

The website is the face of any business; thus, it is encouraged to browse the lawyer’s or firm’s website to learn about their specialization and the kind of practice they do. It will also show how professionally and thoroughly they work through testimonials and blog articles.

Extensive experience

A good estate planning lawyer with extensive experience can do more than just provide legal expertise. They also serve as family mediators and counselors during complex issues that need legal decisions. An experienced estate planning lawyer is familiar with estate planning, including administration and litigation.

Takeaway

You don’t need to own millions of dollars worth of estate to consider hiring an estate planning lawyer. Even families with modest means can benefit from estate planning services to spare their families from complicated real estate paperwork. Estate planning with a lawyer is a long-term relationship. Hence, it’s vital to choose a lawyer with an established groundwork to guide you through the entire process from planning and administration.

 

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