Tier One: How to Select a Top Tier Trusts and Estates Attorney
We are often asked to recommend a top tier trust and estates attorney, especially during client engagements where there are complex life insurance strategies. While most of our affluent clients have a “family attorney”, it is no longer surprising to hear that a client is concerned that their existing attorney may not have familiarity with strategies such as private split-dollar, intergenerational split-dollar, private placement or even spousal lifetime access trusts. Equally of importance, many clients have expressed that they do not want to pay for their family attorney to learn advanced life insurance planning.
Selecting the best trusts and estates attorney can be a daunting task, but it's an important decision that can have significant long-term implications for you and your loved ones. A trusts and estates attorney is responsible for helping clients plan for the transfer of their assets and property after death, as well as managing and protecting their assets during their lifetime. Here are some tips to help you select the best trusts and estates attorney for your needs.
1. Look for experience and expertise
When selecting a trusts and estates attorney, it's important to look for someone with experience and expertise in this area of law. You want an attorney who has a deep understanding of estate planning, trusts, probate, and other related issues, including life insurance. Look for an attorney who has been practicing in this area for several years and who has a track record of success in helping clients achieve their goals.
2. Check for proper qualifications
Make sure the attorney you are considering is licensed to practice law in your state and has the appropriate qualifications to practice in the area of trusts and estates. You can check with your state's bar association to verify an attorney's credentials and to ensure they are in good standing with the bar.
3. Look for someone who listens and communicates well
Estate planning is a personal and sensitive matter, and you want an attorney who is a good listener and communicator. Look for an attorney who takes the time to understand your goals and concerns and who can explain complex legal concepts in a way that is easy to understand. A good attorney should also be responsive to your questions and concerns and keep you informed throughout the process.
4. Consider the attorney's approach to estate planning
Every attorney has their own approach to estate planning, so it's important to find someone whose approach aligns with your goals and values. Some attorneys take a more traditional approach to estate planning, while others may focus on more innovative strategies. Make sure you discuss your goals and preferences with the attorney you are considering, ensuring they can provide the services you need.
5. Look for an attorney who can provide a comprehensive estate plan
Estate planning is more than just creating a will or a trust. A good estate plan should include a range of legal documents and strategies, including life insurance, that help protect your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out after you pass away. Look for an attorney who can provide a comprehensive estate plan that includes documents such as a durable power of attorney, healthcare directive, and trust.
6. Consider the attorney's availability and accessibility
Estate planning is an ongoing process, and you want an attorney who will be available to help you when you need it. Look for an attorney who is responsive to your calls and emails and who is willing to meet with you on a regular basis to review and update your estate plan. At Life Insurance Strategies Group, we have previously discussed that with the coming sunset of the high estate and gift tax exemption, it will soon be very difficult to find time with some of the country’s best trusts and estates attorney. You should not procrastinate in your planning or you could be put to the back of the line.
7. Consider the attorney's fees
While cost shouldn't be the only factor in your decision, it's important to consider the attorney's fees when selecting a trusts and estates attorney. Make sure you understand how the attorney charges for their services and what is included in their fee. Some attorneys charge by the hour, while others may charge a flat fee for specific services.
8. Get referrals and read reviews
Finally, it's always a good idea to get referrals from friends and family members or business associates. Look for an attorney who has a good reputation in the community and who has received positive feedback from clients.
Selecting the best trusts and estates attorney can be a complex process, but by taking the time to consider the factors above, you can find an attorney who can help you achieve your estate planning goals and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. At Life Insurance Strategies Group, we do not sell life insurance. We help our affluent individual and institutional clients make decisions about complex life insurance transactions.
Since its inception, Life Insurance Strategies Group has solely focused on the individual high net worth life insurance market. We do not sell products. This allows us to offer unbiased, pragmatic advice. Visit us at www.lifeinsurancestrategiesgroup.com.