Whether you’re ready to begin estate planning or just need to make a few updates to your existing plan, it’s important to make sure you put your financial affairs in good hands.

Keeping an eye out for these signs can help you determine whether your lawyer has been trained to advise you correctly and treat you appropriately.

Duties of an estate planning attorney

Different lawyers may come with a wide array of different legal knowledge on specific practices and niche topics. Estate planning professionals should have the skill and legal knowledge to provide the following basic services for you:

  • Review your current financial affairs, real and personal property, life insurance policies and healthcare wishes
  • Provide legal and financial information that can help you determine what to include in your estate plan
  • Account for the costs of long-term care
  • Help you establish estate planning goals
  • Identify potential needs of your loved ones in your absence and explain your options to meet those needs
  • Anticipate and avoid negative tax liability consequences by consulting with accounting and tax advisors
  • Explain how to secure assets, avoid probate or choose beneficiaries, an executor and powers of attorney
  • Prepare and execute your legal documents (wills, trusts, powers of attorney, etc.)
  • Compare your plan with current estate tax exemptions
  • Encourage you to review your plan every three to five years or help you make changes to your plan

Conduct of a trust-worthy lawyer

Lawyers working under a trust-worthy, estate planning firm should:

  • Explain the rationale behind approaches and answer your questions
  • Be upfront and honest about fees, your financial state and your options
  • Value what you have to say by listening to your thoughts and returning phone calls and emails
  • Adapt proven methods to suit your circumstances
  • Avoid lending any false expectations by promising a specific outcome — despite the likeliness of the outcome

Characteristics of a great firm

  • Comprehensive website with useful information
  • Great reviews online
  • Provides references of previous clients or specific cases as evidence of past successes
  • Maintains a low turnover rate

If you are unhappy with legal advice you’ve received in the past, contact Sikov And Love, P.A. to get the experience you deserve. Our attorneys are well-versed in these standards and committed to providing you with sound advice to help you feel secure about your estate plan.