Estate planning series – Finding the right lawyer

January 4, 2016

Choosing the right lawyer depends on your estate planning needs.

While most lawyers can draft a simple will or power of attorney, individuals with sizable estates, complex financial situations or disabled dependents may require the expertise of a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. Many people have valued relationships with a lawyer or law firm that regularly does their legal work. However, it’s important to do your homework before choosing a lawyer for your estate planning. Here are some tips to ensure you find the right lawyer for your estate planning needs.

1. Do your due diligence

When searching for an estate planning lawyer, it’s always a good idea to research prospective lawyers and law firms online to ensure they have expertise regarding wills and estates. You could then contact your provincial law society or visit its website to make certain that the lawyer you’re considering is in good standing. If so, then you’re ready for an in-person meeting.

2. Experience matters

While it’s certainly not the only consideration, if you have complex estate needs you will probably want a lawyer who has at least several years’ experience in estate planning, wills and trusts.

3. Consider a lawyer with a local office

From a practical standpoint, hiring a lawyer with a local office will reduce burdensome travel and reduce costs for a variety of other expenses, like document delivery.

4. Ask for references

Before hiring a lawyer, it’s imperative to get references from objective sources who can comment on the lawyer’s skill and trustworthiness.

5. Get everything in writing

Fee structures vary from lawyer to lawyer, so it’s important to get all the details about fees and services in writing beforehand, to ensure there are no surprises.

To learn more about integrating estate planning into your overall financial plan, talk to your financial advisor or visit AGF.com.

The contents of this Web site are provided for informational and educational purposes, and are not intended to provide specific individual advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax. Please consult with your own professional advisor on your particular circumstances.

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