If you recently lost a loved one and need to probate their estate or you are ready to establish an estate plan, you need to find a good probate lawyer, someone you can trust. The internet is a good place to start. But how do you select the right estate attorney from the listings? Here are five inside tips.
One. Look for an estate attorney with a customized website, rather than one with a prepackaged generic site with lots of pretty pictures. Pick a custom site loaded with informative wills, trusts or probate articles about the area of law that pertains to your situation. Content-heavy sites are prepared by experienced wills and trust lawyers, not webmasters. Avoid those slick sites with lots of flash. You want an old-school law firm with knowledge, not glitz.
Two. Look for an estate planning law firm that specializes in the area of law that you need. A general law firm that says they do everything cannot possibly do everything well. The content on the website will give you an indication of what the firm does best.
Three. Contact the NY estate lawyer directly and try to speak to the probate attorney who will be handling your case. Don’t settle for being diverted to a paralegal or an assistant. If the estate planning lawyer is too busy to speak with you initially, ask for a callback. If he or she is too busy to give you the attention you need, maybe you should try someone else. When you speak with the estate lawyer, make sure he/she is a good listener. They can’t help you if they don’t listen. It is important that you feel comfortable with your estate planning lawyer. First impressions are critical.
Four. If the New York probate attorney has client reviews on their site, read them all. You will be able to differentiate between honest reviews and canned ones. Don’t be put off by a single bad review; it will only legitimize the others. After all, you can’t please everyone all the time.
Five. Ask the NY probate lawyer to explain the entire process to you. Do not be shy; you have the right to know. A good estate lawyer should be able to explain even the most complex matter in simple, easy to understand terms. Remember, you are the boss since you are paying the bill.
Finally, go with your gut. Picking the right wills, trusts or estate lawyer can be a challenge. Once you find the right person, the rest of the process will be much easier.