You have long trusted your estate planning attorney, who guided you through the creation of your will. Every few years, you made sure to update this important legal document. But one update you had not expected was finding a new estate planning attorney. You will have no choice but to do so if your legal adviser retires, becomes incapacitated or even dies.
The key thing to remember, though, is do not panic. You know what you must do. However, you want to make sure that you find the right attorney who will provide the estate planning guidance you need and expect.
Same firm, reach out to friends
There are some options in finding a new estate planning attorney:
- Work with an attorney within that same firm: You may not have to look any further than your current law firm. They likely want to keep you on as a client, and maybe you already have had some contact with your original attorney’s partners or associates. They already know you.
- Most lawyers have contingency plans: Many attorneys understand the need to protect their clients in scenarios that may relate to their sudden departure or inability to practice law. This is why some attorneys form partnerships with other law firms or appoint a law firm that may take on their former clients.
- Reach out to trusted friends and acquaintances: This is often one of the best ways to go. You may receive a few solid referrals from them.
- Contact an attorney with whom you previously worked: You may have relied on an attorney for other reasons such as real estate, divorce and personal injury matters. This person, too, would be a good source in providing referrals from within his or her professional circles.
These simply represent initial steps. Do some initial research as well. And when you find candidates, make sure to interview them. You want to get a good feel for them and know whether you would like to have them guide you. The interview process is so important because estate planning is highly personal.
Some effort involved
Finding another estate planning attorney should not be difficult. It just takes some effort if your attorney retires or dies. You have options. Another rule to remember: You should know where your will is. Retain a copy and store it in a safe place such as a safe deposit box. Doing so, will prevent certain worries related to when your estate planning attorney retires, dies or retires.