Making plans for your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacitation is one of the most important things you will ever do. You need to find the best person for the role. An estate attorney in Portland can help you make the appropriate decisions and legal arrangements. But how do you hire one? Read on for tips to help you find an attorney to help you with this important work.
Get a Referral From a Friend
People often speak with friends first to find referrals. If you have a friend who has already been through the same process and you trust their judgment, ask for the contact details of the attorney they went with. Of course, you still need to make sure this attorney is right for you, but a recommendation is a great place to start.
Get a Referral From an Attorney
Getting a referral from an attorney who has worked for you in the past and who you believe has good judgment is a great way of finding someone who can help you prepare your estate. Attorneys will have plenty of contacts among other attorneys who specialize in this area and will be able to point you in the right direction.
Search Google for an Estate Attorney Portland
Another option when looking for an estate attorney in Portland is to do a quick Google search. Google searches can help you find more or less anything you want nowadays, however, be careful. You must make sure that the attorneys you find are reputable. Just because they rank highly on Google, does not mean that they are necessarily the best in the business. Do your due diligence and check out what the reputation of the firm and the attorney you will be dealing with before you put any money down.
Vetting Potential Attorneys
Check If the Attorney Has Malpractice Insurance
Having malpractice insurance is a sign of accountability. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, so you should not hire an attorney who does not have malpractice insurance. In some states, it’s not a legal requirement for an attorney to have this type of insurance. But make sure that you are not caught out by an attorney who doesn’t have it.
A good tip to know is that attorneys who are incorporated (usually signified by having PC or APC after the name of their firm) have to keep malpractice insurance in most states.
Check What Law School the Attorney Went To
Some law schools are harder to get into than others, and these are the schools that tend to have the highest standards. The law school ranking system has four tiers, with the first tier being the most difficult to get into. Asking the attorney you are thinking of going with what law school they went to can tell you about their training and help you in deciding whether you want to hire them.
Ask How Long They Have Been Practicing
New attorneys lack the experience of attorneys who have been practicing for longer periods of time. For a role this important, it’s better to pick someone who has been practicing for a long time and dealt with a variety of situations. This increases the likelihood of you and your estate being in good hands.
Ask Exactly What Their Charges Are
Estate attorneys in Portland usually charge flat fees, rather than billing by the hour. Occasionally, attorneys do both and charge a fixed rate for some services but an hourly rate for others. Checking exactly what their rates are beforehand can ensure there are no surprises.
Ask If There Is Someone Else in the Office Who Can Answer Your Questions
While most estate-planning attorneys aim to make themselves available as much as possible, there are occasionally times when these attorneys are not contactable. If it’s important for you to have someone who can answer your questions expediently all the time, find out if you will be able to talk to one of their colleagues in this eventuality.
Questions for You to Think About When Meeting an Attorney
- Do you have good rapport with this person?
- Does this attorney communicate effectively and clearly?
- Would you be happy talking about this person regarding personal matters relating to your estate?
- Do you trust this person?
If you answer “yes” to all of these questions, this is further indication this attorney is the right person for the job.
What Should I Do Before Meeting a Potential Estate Attorney?
Before you meet with any potential estate attorneys, there are a few things you should do:
- Write down your contact information and the contact details of the people who will be affected by this matter.
- Have a good idea of what it is that you would like to achieve. If there are some things that you are uncertain of, a good estate attorney will be able to help you with this.
Get the required documents and put them together in a logical order.
- Write down as many things as you can about your situation. Doing this will help to speed things up while you are with the attorney. Remember, that attorneys tend to charge fairly high rates per hour, so doing this can help to save you money.
- Make copies of the documents that you will give to your attorney, as you may need to look at them at a later date.
If you follow all the tips in this article, you will stand a good chance of finding an attorney who can skillfully carry out your wishes regarding your estate.
Warren Allen LLP has been serving Portland and the Pacific Northwest since 1971, and we have a great deal of experience in preparing estates. We know how important it is to make sure that those that you care for are provided for after you’re gone. You can be sure that your case is in safe hands with us.