How To Select An Estate Planning Attorney


hey so in this video we’re going to talk
about how to select an estate planning attorney to work with so I’m Paul
Rabelais I’m an estate planning attorney I help our clients get and keep their
legal affairs in order and look by the way you can tune in to this YouTube
channel every day at 10 a.m. Central Time I’ll be posting new educational
information that you can soak in as you attempt to protect what you have for
yourself and your family and do it the right way
alright had a busy day today I got to tell you you’ll see the dark window over
my left shoulder it’s it’s late at night and you know just back to back to back
to back to back all day today started a couple of new probates on a couple of
individuals who passed away last month working with a family we had set up a
living trust for a parent the parent died the son was so impressed how things
went smoke so smooth once the parent died they wanted to set up their own
trust so worked on that for awhile and then another family who first words out
of his mouth were I want to protect my estate from the government I don’t want
to lose it if I go to a nursing home so had that to deal with with another you
know new client very fortunate very fortunate to have just a phenomenal
couple of people that I work with that helped me get and keep all of these
clients you know legal affairs in order alright so let’s get back to how to
select an estate planning attorney to work with I’ve had a couple of more than
a couple of requests in comments to other videos about suggestions on how
someone can select or find or be comfortable with you know an estate
planning attorney so bottom line is there’s there’s several factors that I’m
going to go through that you should take into consideration before you select an
estate planning attorney I’m also going to tell you I don’t want it to sound
like I’m Tooting my own horn because you know I just don’t want to
sound that way a lot of the people who will be watching this they can’t hire me
anyway because we get a lot of people watching this you know from states where
I’m not I’m in Louisiana a lot of people watching this California New York New
Jersey Illinois Florida but so so I hope it doesn’t sound like this is just a
sales video on my part alright so let me go through the factors that you should
look at and I’m gonna be as objective as I can
so one of the factors that you should look at is is does the attorney that
you’re considering working with to get your estate and order do they practice
you know regularly at a minimum if not exclusively in the estate planning area
in the estate planning area there are a ton of little nuances and unless the
lawyer works in that area on a daily basis then it’s likely that they may
miss something so you want to work with somebody who practices regularly or
preferably exclusive in the area of estate planning you know if they’re also
doing the the car wreck you know lawsuit and they’re doing the divorce and
they’re doing the commercial litigation you know they’re they’re just not
devoting perhaps enough time to helping people get their legal affairs in order
they may miss something all right second thing is experience you know experience
I think is is really necessary in the estate planning area although I
will tell you and there are a lot of lawyers out there with a lot of
experience that are just flat-out jerks so experience isn’t the only factor that
you should consider but I know from my own experience you know I went to law
school and then after law school I went an extra year master’s degree in tax law
and but really 95 at least percent of what I know wasn’t from law school it
was from the years of experience of people coming to me with objectives and
problems and then working with them to solve those
problems and set things up in a way that you know satisfies them so that all
comes from experience so experience is another I’d call it an important factor
to consider when selecting an estate planning attorney and and really not
just experience in things like the drafting of wills and trusts and powers
of attorney that you know make the kind of beginnings of an estate planning
program but but also experience in you know taxation so I had a client come to
me last week said and said Paul I went my dad and I went and saw this other
attorney in town we just didn’t get a good feeling because we asked him about
the tax consequences of certain estate planning strategies and he said that
we’d have to go talk to a CPA about that so you know in estate planning you had a
whole bunch of different areas that are affected by getting you know setting up
an estate planning legal program so when I say they need to be well versed not
only in wills and trusts and the drafting of legal documents but they
also have to be well versed in the tax effect of all of those things and and
really and when we talk about taxes there’s the there’s the gift in the
state tax there’s the capital gains tax there’s the income tax there’s the
property tax and then another area on its own is how retirement accounts are
taxed at the moment that I’m making this video six days ago our how how
retirement accounts are taxed got turned upside down so need to work with someone
who’s familiar with all of that not only all of that but you need to work with
someone who understands long term care Medicaid eligibility and all the
strategies that you can take affect I find not most estate planning attorneys
they they don’t want to do that or they’re not familiar enough with it to
give really good advice property laws another area that affects estate
planning and then of course probate law is another area that affects estate
planning so experience in all of those things is really a must to get the
kind of advice that you need another area that is a factor is fees and then
you know there’s there’s flat fee lawyers and there’s hourly rate lawyers
and I would say fees is not the moat shouldn’t be the most important factor
by any stretch in fact there’s a saying out there that says nothing is more
expensive than a cheap lawyer so but but it at least work with a lawyer who’s
upfront about the fee structure and how that works so that you’re not you know
whammied or surprised at the end and get a bill or a notice or an invoice that
was completely from left field unexpected so you need to work with a
lawyer who’s upfront about that and so that’s just another factor the lawyers
education is another factor so you know I would say it’s not that the top of the
list as far as the factors you know whether the lawyer went to Harvard or
whether he went to you know the state law school I don’t know that that really
matters I would say experience matters more than that are they polite are they
prompt or they punctual that of course is very important are they organized do
they do what they say they’re gonna do I would say that’s probably more important
than than where they got their degree from or you know how many letters they
have at the end of their name so another factor that I think is really really at
the at the top of the list as far as the importance of it is asking family
friends neighbors and co-workers so what what other people who have used a lawyer
say about that lawyer I would you know and their objective I would say that’s
you know high on the list so when you when you talk to to neighbors and a
co-worker and financial advisor a CPA and your trusted colleague who you went
to school with and they all say oh you need estate planning you need to go see
so-and-so because I to so and so and I was very pleased with
the results that I got so that that’s that one’s up there okay and thence a
few other factors that I think are important these days you can research
attorneys online and so it’s it’s pretty easy for attorneys like myself to put
information out there and again not Tooting my own horn but when you go
google an attorney if you see a lot of content that was published by the estate
planning attorney and that could be in written form it could be in video form
it could be an audio form in a podcast but when you see a lot of content it’s
kind of like you can get to know that attorney and form a perhaps a good
feeling about you know whether you would want to work with that attorney so if
they if there’s a lot of content educational type content that’s out
there that’s that’s probably a good sign because that means they take take their
business serious and then you’re gonna want to you’re gonna want to talk to the
attorney and so I want to clear up what I mean by that what I don’t suggest you
do is talk to twelve different attorneys each one for two hours apiece and then
make a decision that’s that borders on wasting too many attorneys valuable time
but it is appropriate I believe to speak to an attorney
either in their office or on the telephone
not Tooting my own horn always preface on that but on our website you know we
have a where you can schedule a 15-minute call with me right there it
takes you to my calendar and so make myself available to do that but when you
speak to the attorney it’s real important that you speak in precise
terms and and tell them what you’re trying to accomplish so as concise and
as clear as you can be on that that’s going to enable the attorney to get
right to the point as to what you’re trying to accomplish and maybe give you
some some potential strategies some pros and cons of each so that you can get a
good feeling about whether want to move forward with that attorney
now I will tell you when you do talk to the attorney
I hear from other clients who come in my office they said they talked to an
attorney and they they could not understand what that attorney was
talking about the conversation as the client said was was over my head is what
they’d say so when you hear attorneys and you talk about estate planning and
they talk in terms of bypass trust q-tip trusts generation-skipping transfer tax
q’bert’s charitable remainder trust and you don’t have a clue as to what any of
that is then you’re probably not talking to the right attorney they ought to be
able to speak on a level that you’re very comfortable with and quite frankly
some attorneys like to hear themselves talk too much so if you get that feeling
and you don’t feel like the attorney is a good listener and and question-asker
then probably in the wrong office so bottom line on all of that is need to
need to trust your gut but you need to take into consideration all those
factors first and trust your gut now at this point what I want you to do is make
sure because I’m putting these things out daily hit the subscribe button and
the notification valve if you felt like this provided you with some value give
it a thumbs up and that way YouTube will do its thing to notify you as more
educational content comes out so I hope that helps you you kind of overcome that
procrastination I don’t want the I don’t know how to hire an attorney to keep you
from getting your estate legal affairs in order
so get this part behind you go seek out the right attorney when you find one
hopefully you can develop a really good relationship that may may last a few
weeks or it may last for many many years and you’ll have this part of your kind
of estate program in place okay have a great day we’ll see you tomorrow take
care

Michael Martin

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