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How to find a quality Estate Planning Attorney?

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  • How to find a quality Estate Planning Attorney?

    I am currently in the process of getting my financial house in order and plan on meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney in the next 12 months. However, what resources are available for finding a competent, reasonably priced attorney. I know there are Financial Advisers listed on this site that were vetted by WCI, but what about estate planning attorneys. Is there a good list somewhere. For reference, I live in the Philadelphia area if anyone has specific suggestions.

    Also, is there a list of questions that I should have answered or at least prepare for ahead of time so I can be ready for the meeting and also minimize the cost the attorney will charge?

  • #2
    i don't think preparing will reduce the charges.  unless there is something crazy, they have set prices.  they will have a lengthy form for you to fill out.  they will review it with you.

    lot of the questions revolve around what ifs.  what if another child is discovered?  what if an as yet unborn child becomes disabled.  name trustees.  retitle assets.  do you want your sister/brother/friend in charge of the money?   what age should kid get the money?   etc etc

    we have done three.  probably need to do another one as kids age.

    good luck!


    • #3

      search, get reviews, contact info etc.


      • #4
        Ask your accountant, your attorney, your friend who works in finance.  It is kind of like finding a good doctor.  You need to know who to ask.


        • #5

          Ask your accountant, your attorney, your friend who works in finance.  It is kind of like finding a good doctor.  You need to know who to ask.
          Click to expand...

          agree you have to know who to ask, but how do we know how well they know?

          the accountant may or may not have good criteria for making a recommendation.  the attorney may just recommend someone in house.  they could be great or they could be inhouse.

          I ended up asking three people-accountant, financial advisor, local lawyer for three names.  happily one person was on three lists, so I went with them.  but no idea how good or bad.  costs were roughly same.



          • #6
            American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) membership should be a good sign. Avvo Is good too.

            While he’s in Pittsburgh instead of Philly, Jim Lange is a Pennsylvania attorney who publishes extensively and is well regarded for tax and estate work.


            • #7
              I went through all of this not too long ago and can recommend someone in the ny/nj/philly area.  Prices were more or less all the same. I did extensive research.  To me an ACTEC designation was a must as it shows you have the basic minimum knowledge for this area of law.  I think of ACTEC like a fellowship in medicine.  I also found that local attorneys i.e. those within driving distance are not necessary.  I only met with mine once, but, looking back, that was not even necessary.


              • #8
                liked mine, they have a network, PM if you want contact info and they can probably refer


                • #9
                  I’m an estate plannig attorney.

                  If I were you, I would get recommendations from people who regularly deal with estate planning attorneys such as CPAs and financial advisors. I put little faith in AVVO, as there are many attorneys with a 10.0 rating who aren’t nearly the caliber of lower rated attorneys. ACTEC is a solid designation.