What Should You Look for in an Estate Planning Attorney?

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(Newswire.net — December 22, 2017) — When it comes time to start planning your estate, your choice of attorneys really will matter. Don’t let your assets or other final wishes be held up in probate because your estate planning documents aren’t in order. Here is some of what you should look for in an estate planning attorney.

Why You Need an Estate Attorney Licensed in Your State

Oddly, you would think estate planning and such things as death benefits to surviving spouses are the same in all 50 states. Unfortunately, that is not the case at all. For example, laws governing a Last Will and Testament in New York may not be the same in Florida or California. Before choosing a lawyer, make absolutely certain that attorney is licensed in your state. If not, those documents might not even hold up in court!

Make Certain the Attorney Specializes in Estate Planning

Just as doctors are specialists within the field of medicine, so too can lawyers specialize within the field of law. Estate planning is a specialty that can vary from state to state, as mentioned above, and why you would need to find an estate planning law group in your state. Also, as mentioned above, laws in New York will invariably differ from other states, so residents of NY should consult an estate planning specialist attorneys like those at the Katzner Law Group. You want to ensure that your beneficiaries get what you leave them and that other entities, including state and federal governments, don’t get a larger piece of the pie than they deserve!

Check References and Beware of Hotline Referrals

While you should always check references, not all references are as credible as they should be! Some state and federal bar associations suggest that you should always double and triple check hotline references. The reason for this should be perfectly clear. Some ‘hotlines’ are set up in such a way that they get paid for any contracts signed from leads referred by the hotline. In other words, they are not a hotline in the true sense of the word because they are getting paid for referring your business to a lawyer willing to pay them. A hotline should give unbiased and helpful advice, not simply direct you to a source of income for them.

The Importance of Law Schools and Legal Organizations

Finally, it is vitally important that you check your attorney’s credentials. See what law school they graduated from and then look at what legal organizations they belong to. Most of those associations and organizations have very specific criteria to meet and if your attorney is a member in good standing, you can probably feel safe working with them on planning your estate.

When all is said and done, your heirs and beneficiaries will only inherit or receive exactly what you’ve specified on those estate planning documents. Make sure those docs are legally written and will hold up in a court of law. No, you aren’t a lawyer but there are ways to check those documents if you feel something is missing. Don’t leave your estate half planned or you stand the risk of leaving half your assets, letting the others fall into the wrong hands. That would be something else to grieve over, wouldn’t it?