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4 Things to Consider When Choosing an Estate Planning Attorney

No matter the size of your estate, you need an estate plan for yourself and your family. An effective estate plan can help you minimize estate taxes, shield your estate from volatile market forces, and ensure that intended beneficiaries inherit your assets.

An estate planning attorney near you in Sonoma County can help you develop a bulletproof estate plan and make sure your wishes are honored. An attorney can also help find ways to avoid probate.

However, all estate planning attorneys are not created equal. Some self-proclaimed experts make hollow claims. They fail to keep their promises. Steer clear of such professionals. Make sure the professional you are considering understand your estate planning needs and can devise a customized plan to meet them.

Johnston Thomas Law is a group of Sonoma County’s best estate planning attorneys. To help you determine the best group to handle your estate planning, continue reading, or call our office at (707) 545-6542.

Experience

Look for an attorney experienced in estate planning. Consider local professionals who are familiar with the Sonoma County area and can help you navigate the local laws.

Another thing you should consider is the size of your estate. If you have a large estate, you’ll want to hire an attorney who is familiar with estate planning for high-net-worth individuals.

Are You Comfortable With Them?

You’ll want to find an attorney who you feel comfortable working with. This is someone you’ll be sharing sensitive information with, so it’s essential that you feel like you can trust them.

Credentials

Make sure the attorney you are considering has a valid license. Find out if their license was canceled in the past. If so, why?  To legally practice in a state, an attorney must pass the bar exam that tests their knowledge of local laws. Find out if the professional is a member of an industry body. Lawyers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to maintain their memberships with industry bodies.

Their Listening and Communication Skills

A good estate planning lawyer is an expert communicator. They can understand verbal and non-verbal language. They communicate early and often and avoid using complex legal jargon when interacting with their clients.

When interviewing an attorney, notice if they pin your ears back or just pretend to listen. Check if they listen with curiosity. Ask the attorney what steps they take to ensure seamless communication. Automated communication is efficient and helps save time but using it only when appropriate is vital. You will want to hire a professional who prefers face-to-face communication to automated communication.

Some Tips to Choose an Attorney who is the Right fit for you

Just because your friends or family members use a particular estate planning attorney does not automatically assume they will be the right fit for you as well. Your estate planning needs and financial situation can be very different from theirs. So, when choosing an attorney, consider your needs and look for a professional who can meet them.

Here are tips to follow when choosing an attorney

  • Ask someone you trust for recommendations
  • Go to websites of local legal firms to check if they offer the services you need
  • Go through client testimonials and reviews
  • Interview lawyers to gauge their skill level

Johnston Thomas Law is a leading law firm serving Sonoma County. Our estate planning attorneys have an unparalleled ability to create comprehensive estate plans to meet unique estate planning needs. To learn more, call (707) 545-6542.

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