Estate planning helps you prepare for your future, and protects your family from a lengthy, complex, and time-consuming probate process. Your estate planning documents address your end-of-life wishes, ensuring your assets are distributed correctly.

In preparing the documents you want to be sure they capture every crucial detail of your estate, thus it’s vital to hire an estate planning attorney to oversee this process. However, don’t hire blindly, as they don’t all perform equally, and choosing the wrong one could be costly.

Factors worthy of your consideration when choosing an attorney include:

1. Confirm the Attorney’s Experience in Estate Planning, Probate, and Trusts

When hiring an estate planning attorney, it’s crucial to go for one with proven experience in the field. Ask potential lawyers how long they’ve been practicing law and, more importantly, their track record in estate planning, probate and trusts. Reputable and experienced lawyers are more likely to deliver the quality of service you might expect.

2. Request a Referral from Another Attorney or a Professional Advisor

In doing your research to look for an estate planning attorney, it’s helpful to hear what other professionals in the field have to say about them. A referral is an endorsement and a positive review that the attorney will deliver as expected.

3. Conduct a Local Search

In recent years, the internet has certainly made conducting a search for an estate planning attorney significantly more manageable. However, you may need to localize your search to ensure the lawyer you choose has a license to operate in the area. Extensive knowledge of the local laws in order to skillfully oversee your estate planning is a must.

When doing your online search, be wary of online directories that promise to get you a qualified attorney. Most of the attorneys on these directories pay hefty fees to be listed, and may not have the actual relevant experience and skills necessary in comprehensively planning your estate.

4. Interview Your Top Candidates

After picking a few potential candidates from your list, the next step are to:

  • Confirm Bar Registration Status
  • Arrange a live or virtual interview 

During the interview, evaluate the ease of conversation with the prospect, how knowledgeable and interested they are in your situation, and any unique estate planning certifications.

5. Know the Cost of Your Estate Plan

Although it may not be the most crucial factor to consider when hiring an attorney, knowing the cost can help in comparing them before choosing one. Find out how each lawyer charges clients, whether an hourly fee or a flat rate. You also need to know if the lawyer requires a retainer prior to beginning work on your case.

6. Request a Written Fee Agreement

Before a lawyer accepts your case, they should provide a written fee agreement. This is a legal and important document anyone should have before working with an attorney, regardless of how simple you think your case is. It outlines the fees and compensation you owe the lawyer and the scope of work expected for said fees and helps to prevent possible disputes later in the process.

7. Choose the Lawyer with Proven Efficiency

Time can be crucial when creating an estate plan, especially when in reality, none of us know how much time we really have. You want a lawyer who can produce a first draft within the shortest time possible, usually within a few weeks. Your estate plan should be finalized in two months or less. If your attorney requires more than a few months to finish, they might have too many clients or too little staff to handle your case efficiently and give it the attention it deserves.


Choosing an estate planning attorney from the many seemingly available options can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Foley Law Offices is well experienced in estate planning, probate, trusts and more. These reliable attorneys do right by clients with quality and integrity, and are worthy of consideration as you try to determine who can help you plan your estate. Request a free case evaluation today.