10 Tips for Choosing the Right Estate Planning Attorney for You

Estate planning cases can get pretty complex, especially with today’s diverse family setups like blended families and unmarried partners. Whether you’re creating a will, establishing a trust, or planning for the future, estate planning has become more important than ever.

But how does a trust work? A trust works to manage and allocate assets by your preferences while offering control, flexibility, and possible tax advantages. Estate planning requires careful consideration and customized personal service that meets your family’s unique needs for a fairer distribution of assets and inheritance. 

But how do you make sure that you’ve found the perfect match for your needs and preferences? In this article, we’ll share with you these ten tips you can work on that will help you have a smoother process and make better decisions that could have a lasting impact on your legacy.  

Evaluate Your Specific Needs

Las Vegas estate planning attorney Ken R. Ashworth clarifies that an individual’s inheritance is classified as “separate property” and does not automatically become “community property” in a marriage. This implies that the spouse does not possess any legal entitlement to the inheritance. 

However, the way a beneficiary chooses to handle their inheritance can potentially transform it into jointly held or community property. That is why it is important to carefully evaluate your specific needs when choosing an estate planning attorney to ensure they align with your situation. To have a smoother and more tailored estate planning process, align your requirements with an attorney who meets your criteria by:

  1. Identifying the complexity of your estate. If you have multiple properties, many investments, or a blended family, you may need an attorney with experience in handling intricate estates.
  2. Consider your family’s dynamics and any specific needs they may have. For example, if you have a family member with special needs, you’ll want an attorney who understands how to incorporate special provisions into your estate plan.
  3. Your preferences and communication style. Some attorneys prefer frequent updates and consultations, while others may take a more hands-off approach. 

Research Attorney Expertise

Seek out attorneys who have a strong focus on estate planning. This demonstrates their extensive expertise and experience in this particular field of law. Verify if they have experience handling cases related to wills, trusts, probate, or similar matters that match your requirements.

Review the attorney’s website, online profiles, and any published articles to gauge their level of expertise. Consider checking for certifications, memberships in estate planning associations, or recognition in the field. This information can provide you with a glimpse into their dedication to staying up-to-date with estate planning laws and strategies.

Consider reaching out to past clients or seeking referrals to get a sense of how the attorney has helped others in similar situations. Researching the attorney’s expertise can point you to someone who’s well-equipped to handle your estate planning needs effectively. 

Consider Attorney Experience

When choosing an attorney for estate planning, it is important to find someone who has extensive experience in this particular field of law. Experience is crucial when it comes to estate planning, as it involves intricate matters like wills, trusts, tax considerations, and distributing assets. A seasoned attorney with extensive experience in estate planning is likely to have encountered a wide range of scenarios and developed effective strategies to address them.

Take into account the variety of cases the attorney has dealt with previously. Have they handled estates of a comparable size or complexity before? Have they worked with clients who have specific needs, such as business owners, blended families, or individuals with unique circumstances? By assessing their past cases, you can better evaluate if the attorney has the necessary experience to guide you through your estate planning process. 

Don’t forget to inquire about the attorney’s success rates and outcomes in estate planning matters. An experienced attorney should be able to provide you with examples of successful estate plans they’ve crafted for clients. This information can give you confidence in their ability to handle your estate planning needs competently.

Check Client Reviews and Testimonials

You may frequently find valuable insights by checking client reviews and testimonials of estate planning attorneys. So, take the time to read what other clients have to say about their experiences. Look for patterns in the feedback to get a sense of the attorney’s strengths and weaknesses. Positive reviews that highlight professionalism, responsiveness, and successful outcomes can indicate a reliable attorney. While consistently negative reviews may serve as a red flag,.

Pay attention to the specific details mentioned in the testimonials. Clients often share anecdotes about how the attorney helped them with complex legal issues, communicate effectively, or provide peace of mind during the estate planning process. These firsthand accounts can give you a glimpse into what it might be like to work with an attorney and whether their approach aligns with your needs and preferences.

Consider the overall sentiment expressed in the reviews and testimonials. While individual opinions may vary, a consensus about an attorney’s performance can guide your decision-making process. 

Assess Communication Style

Clear and open communication is necessary to make sure that your wishes are accurately documented. When meeting with the attorney, observe how they explain complex legal terms in a way that’s easy for you to grasp. A good attorney will listen attentively to your concerns and goals, providing explanations without overwhelming you with jargon. They should be approachable and responsive to your questions, making you feel comfortable discussing personal matters.

Assess their preferred mode of communication—whether they prefer emails, phone calls, or in-person meetings—and see if it aligns with your preferences. A transparent and communicative attorney will keep you informed about the progress of your estate plan and quickly address any issues that arise. Such effective communication fosters a strong attorney-client relationship, resulting in a smoother estate planning process.

Verify Credentials and Certifications

 When considering an estate planning attorney, verify their credentials and certifications. Start by checking to see if the attorney is licensed to practice law in your state. With estate planning laws varying by location, it’s best to have a lawyer who’s well-versed in your state’s regulations.

 Look for certifications such as being a Certified Estate Planning Law Specialist (CEPLS) or a member of relevant professional organizations like the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. These certifications can indicate a higher level of expertise in estate planning matters. Next is to look at the attorney’s educational background, years of experience in estate planning, and any specializations they may have within the field.

Verifying credentials and certifications can be your guarantee that you’re entrusting your estate planning needs to a qualified professional who can provide you with the guidance and support necessary to secure your assets and legacy.

Discuss the Fee Structure and Costs of Estate Planning Experts

Investing in a reputable estate planning attorney is equivalent to investing in your asset’s protection and having your wishes carried out effectively. So when assessing potential attorneys, inquire about their fee arrangements upfront. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for their services, while others may bill by the hour. Knowing how the attorney charges for their time can help you budget accordingly. Remember to ask about any additional costs that may arise during the estate planning process, such as filing fees or administrative expenses.

It’s necessary to have a clear understanding of the total cost of hiring an estate planning attorney to avoid any surprises down the road. Be sure to discuss payment schedules and methods accepted by the attorney to prepare yourself for their financial requirements. 

Meet in Person for Consultation

For effective communication and establishing a personal connection, scheduling an in-person consultation with the estate planning attorney is highly recommended. Meeting face-to-face allows you to gauge the attorney’s professionalism, demeanor, and overall suitability for handling your estate planning needs. 

During the consultation, take note of how well the attorney listens to your concerns and whether they’ll give out clear explanations that you can easily understand. This meeting is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about the estate planning process, the attorney’s experience, and their approach to handling cases similar to yours. 

Meeting in person also gives you a chance to see the attorney’s office environment. A tidy and organized office can indicate professionalism and attention to detail. It’s important to feel comfortable in the attorney’s office, as you may need to have sensitive discussions and share personal information during the estate planning process. By meeting in person, you can assess whether the attorney’s office location is convenient for you and whether the atmosphere aligns with your preferences. 

Evaluate Office Location and Accessibility

Choosing an estate planning attorney with an office location that’s easily accessible to you can save time and make it more convenient to attend appointments. Consider the distance you’d need to travel, traffic conditions, and the availability of parking. A closer office can make it simpler to drop off or pick up documents, ask quick questions, or schedule additional meetings if needed. 

Evaluate the accessibility of the attorney’s office, especially if you have mobility concerns. Check if the office is located in a building with elevators, ramps, or other accommodations that would make it easy for you to visit. Being able to access the office comfortably and without obstacles contributes to a more positive experience when meeting with your estate planning attorney. 

Trust Your Instincts and Gut Feelings

 When meeting with potential attorneys, pay attention to how comfortable you feel discussing your wishes and concerns. Your instincts can often sense whether the attorney truly listens, understands your goals, and communicates clearly.

If something feels off or if you sense a lack of trustworthiness, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings. Your gut is a powerful tool that shouldn’t be ignored. Remember, you’ll be sharing personal and sensitive information with your estate planning attorney, so feeling at ease and confident in their abilities is important. 

If you find yourself hesitating or feeling uncertain about a particular attorney, it may be best to continue your search until you find someone you can fully trust and rely on for such an important task. Trust your instincts—they are there to guide you in making the right decision for your estate planning needs. 


When choosing the right estate planning attorney for you, remember to trust your instincts. Consider your specific needs, research their expertise, and assess their experience. Check client reviews, discuss fees, and evaluate their communication style. 

Meet in person for a consultation and consider their office location. Go with your gut and choose an attorney you feel comfortable with to help you plan for the future. Never feel intimidated, even if it means being assertive about what you desire to achieve for your estate.


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