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How to select an estate planning attorney

Choosing a legal professional to guide the process of creating a comprehensive estate plan is an important task. The individual who is trusted with this role will have a great deal of impact on the finished product, and New Jersey residents should take the time and effort needed to find the best possible estate planning fit. As with any other professional, one of the best ways to search for a good match is to ask for referrals.

That process should begin with reaching out to any attorneys with which one already has a connection. The professionals who helped with a divorce, business start-up, lawsuit or other matter will have a network of trusted attorneys in other areas of practice to draw from when making referrals. Often, a quick phone call or email can yield a short list of local attorneys who devote their law practice to estate planning.

The next step is to meet with the top choices for an initial consultation. At this meeting, be prepared with a list of questions about the estate planning process. It is also helpful to come in prepared to answer questions about the range of individual and family assets. A good attorney will want to gain an idea of what a prospective client's needs are, and what type of plan they are seeking. This is a meeting where both parties should be engaged in speaking and listening.

Finally, choosing the best possible estate planning attorney often comes down to one's gut feeling concerning the matter. This is a professional who will be given a great deal of private and personal information about one's assets and family structure. Being comfortable enough to discuss these matters in depth is crucial to a positive outcome, so New Jersey residents should never be afraid to go with their gut when selecting an attorney.

Source: cattlenetwork.com, "Estate Planning: Choosing an attorney", Heather Gessner, Aug. 19, 2015

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