Estate planning takes a very special kind of attorney, one who knows the financial markets and trends, as well as how they apply to your particular situation. Though it can be tempting to draw up your own plans and goals, you would be wise to have a legal consultant to guide you along the way. Read here about what to look for in a good estate attorney.
Make it clear up front that you would like your legal fee agreement in writing from your lawyer. This will help you avoid the surprise of an unexpectedly high bill. Make sure that all expenses and fees are itemized, so that you’ll have a clear understanding of what exactly you are paying for.
When looking for a good lawyer, make sure to obtain personal references. Talking to the local community that have experienced issues similar to you. For instance, if you’re a victim of sexual harassment, speak with a women’s group. Ask them about the lawyers they had and what their experiences were like.
If you are not completely comfortable with an attorney, keep on looking for someone else. Same thing if you are not comfortable with the fees. If they ask for a blank check to pay retainer fees, refuse. Ask for a quote right away and go over the fee structure in details.
Ask your lawyer for an estimate when you decide they’re the one for you. If they say no, walk away immediately. Even if they just give you a range and explain what makes a case more or less expensive, that is good enough. Make sure to get your fee agreement in writing!
It is hugely important that you know exactly what your lawyer plans to do for you. They should lay it out in writing, preferably, before you sign on the dotted line. If they get you to sign a legal document they have drafted without explaining it, run the other way.
If your lawyer does or says anything you don’t understand, speak up. They should be more than happy to explain anything to you, from what a fee is for to a document they’re having you sign. If your lawyer doesn’t want to talk about anything related to your case, drop them immediately.
Wait to sign a contract with an attorney until you feel the situation is right. Request an estimate from the attorney so that you know approximately how many hours he or she intends on putting into the case. If the lawyer refuses, move on. A range is acceptable, but it is not fair if you have no idea what you are getting into.
Make sure you understand the process involved with firing your lawyer. There are many lawyers that still require you to pay a portion of your fees even if you fire them. Read over all contracts carefully, so there are no surprises later in the event that you need to seek out a new lawyer.
Once you have decided to hire a particular lawyer, make sure you receive a written retainer letter that specifically defines the scope of representation, the details of the services you are to receive and the applicable fee structure. By doing this, you will stand a much better chance of getting precisely what you bargained for and you will have useful documentation of the intended relationship should you need to pursue the lawyer in a malpractice action at some point.
Now that you understand more about how estate planning works and how an attorney can help, you can move forward with a well-informed plan. Seek referrals, do your research and get your new attorney on board as soon as you can.It is never too late to plan your future.