Your estate plan determines the financial future of your loved ones, your hard-earned assets, and your quality of life in your golden years. With so much at stake, you want to work with an experienced and compassionate legal professional you can trust.
What makes an excellent estate planning attorney? In this blog, we describe seven crucial qualities to look for in a Long Island estate planning lawyer. Keep reading to learn more, then call us at (631) 519-9831 to schedule a consultation to discuss your estate planning goals.
1. Focuses Mainly or Exclusively on Estate Planning
Law firms that try to juggle many different practice areas often spread themselves too thin. This multidisciplinary approach can be counterproductive and frequently leads to subpar services.
To avoid that, look for legal professionals who focus mainly or entirely on estate planning and elder law. A more limited scope of practice makes it easier to keep up with the latest developments in the field and provide hyper-focused services that cater to all your estate planning needs.
2. Has Relevant Credentials
Ensure that your estate planning attorney is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. Its mission is to educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. To maintain NAELA membership, attorneys must render legal services for the benefit of the elderly or in an endeavor that encompasses the legal needs of the elderly; have an understanding of the aging process and sensitivity to the needs of the elderly; be committed to the highest standards of ethics in representing the needs or promoting the welfare of the elderly; have knowledge of the aging network and those services available through other agencies which benefit the elderly, or wish to gain such knowledge; and have a commitment to positive involvement in the work of the Academy and its purposes.
3. Has Proven Experience in Estate Planning
In addition to theoretical knowledge, your New York estate planning lawyer should have a proven track record of handling various estate planning matters. Consult their website to see how long they have been in practice and look for evidence of real-life professional experience, such as client testimonials or case studies. You can also check online directories and databases like Avvo, Google, and Yelp for ratings and reviews.
4. Offers a Wide Variety of Estate Planning Services
Just because your Long Island estate planning lawyer should focus on one practice area doesn’t mean they can’t offer a broad range of services. Whether you’re looking to update your existing estate plan or build one from scratch, your attorney should be able to help.
Common estate planning and elder law services include:
- Creation of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney
- Asset protection
- Assistance with Medicaid planning and applications
- Special needs planning
- Setting up guardianships
- Business succession planning
- Assistance with the probate process
- Estate administration
5. Provides Transparent Pricing
A trustworthy New York estate planning attorney should offer clear, upfront, and honest pricing. Ideally, hire a lawyer who applies your initial consultation fee to the fixed price for their services.
Some lawyers charge an hourly rate for estate planning services, but this pricing structure is rarely cost-effective for you, the client. Estate planning usually requires multiple consultations and document drafts. If your attorney charges by the hour, you can easily end up with a hefty bill.
Regardless of the pricing structure, never sign a fee agreement until you fully understand the terms.
6. Has Good Communication and Customer Service Skills
Estate planning can be emotionally challenging. Thinking about the end of your life is never easy, and you may also need to make difficult decisions about the future of your family and your hard-earned assets.
An experienced Long Island estate planning attorney should understand this and offer compassionate and empathetic legal advice in a language you can understand. They should take the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have, maintaining timely and effective communication throughout.
Crucially, you want your lawyer to understand your goals and create highly personalized estate planning strategies that work for you and your family.
7. Provides a Quick and Efficient Service
Time is often of the essence when building an estate plan, especially if you’re nearing the end of your life. Your attorney should understand this reality, produce the first draft of your estate plan within a few weeks, and finalize it in less than two months. Lawyers who need more time likely have too many clients and may not prioritize your needs.
Consult An Experienced Long Island Estate Planning Attorney Today
At Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC, we only handle estate planning and elder law matters. By narrowing our focus, we remain up-to-date and provide hyper-focused legal services that take care of all your estate planning needs with a personal touch. As a small firm with big-to-medium-sized firm assets, we have Class A office space with a full staff, two conference rooms, and two paralegals in the office at all times. Although we offer mid-range pricing, we deliver mid-to-large-size firm client service.
Call us today at (631) 519-9831 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation with an experienced Long Island estate planning lawyer.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
SCHNEIDER, GARRASTEGUI & FEDELE PLLC
135 Pinelawn Rd #250s
Melville, NY 11747