The relationship you develop with the estate planning attorney will be critical to the efficacy of the resulting plan, and you will want to be able to update your documents over time, as your life grows and changes. You are the creator, or Trustor, of the trust, so it is up to you to select someone you will enjoy and trust.
Ask for Referrals
Your loved ones, work colleagues, other professionals (like your CPA, or Banker) and friends, may already know an estate planning attorney you would like. Ask them. Be prepared to interview at least three attorneys. Take notes during the initial phone calls, and if you are married, ask your spouse to participate in the interviewing process. There is usually one member of the couple who manages the household finances (sometimes couples do this together), and having you both ask your questions will allow the attorney to get to know you both, too.
Please work with a qualified estate planning attorney. You will want to check out their website, see if they have other lawyers in their office who practice in different areas of law. Their site should give you some idea of how they work; meetings are conducted virtually, by phone, in-person, at your home, or at their office. If the website is not clear, it’s ok to ask. You are the client and the one paying for their services.
Make the Appointment
Many worry about the expense of hiring an estate planning attorney without having interviewed one. When I got my first estate plan done, I was referred by someone dear to me. When I called the attorney to get acquainted, and decided I liked this attorney, I asked the attorney about setting up a payment plan. Most attorneys will allow you a free initial phone call. To be ready, look for my article, Questions for the Estate Planning Attorney.
I was a single mom with two little boys, and I was driving on the local highways daily for work, so I wanted to be sure that if anything happened to me, they would be ok. The attorney asked me about my assets, and suggested a payment amount I could afford. My appointment was scheduled for three weeks out, and now I had to organize some paperwork.
Virtual meetings are great, and rather easy. You may be more comfortable having the first meeting with a new professional. Ask for what you want. Your estate plan is an incredible tool to inventory your all you have and all you love. You are the only one who can create this plan for yourself, and you should do it with the right kind of help.