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What should I look for in a good estate planning attorney?

Orlando, FL |

I'm beginning the process of shopping around, but don't know hot to tell if I've found a good one. Are there any awards or commendations I should be looking for to help me know?


Attorney Answers 6

  1. I'm not really sure how to answer your question. You asked it on a site that has attorneys rated based on a number of different criteria. I would perform a search on this site for an estate attorney in the city that in the best location for you, set-up a couple of appointments with different attorneys and chose an attorney you are comfortable with. Any attorney answering questions on this site should be capable of handling your issue.

    This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Florida Attorney practicing in areas of Estate Planning, Elder Law, Trusts, Probate, Guardianship, and Business Law. The information provided is for educational purposes and not intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. Please contact me at or call my office should you like to discuss your Florida legal matter further. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.

  2. The ability to listen to you and help you to understand how the law applies to your situation are far more important than most awards and commendations. The best attorney for YOU is the one that can clearly explain your options to you, seems comfortable and confident dealing with your questions, and is responsive to your needs. Ask people you trust for referrals to attorneys that THEY trust.

    I would also suggest that you look for an attorney whose practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate. Attorneys that claim to handle every kind of matter in the book are not as likely to be able to properly handle your estate planning.

    There are a number of ratings available for attorneys, including one that Avvo posts. But the most important factor is whether or not you feel like you can work with the person and that they can do the job correctly. There are some excellent estate planning attorneys in your area that are very active participants in the Avvo community. You should have excellent results with any one of them. It also does not hurt to meet with more than one attorney and see who you feel the most comfortable with.

    Best of luck to you!

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

  3. I agree with interviewing several attorneys. I would ask the attorney what portion of their time is spent on estate planning and how many files they have completed.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

  4. I would look for an attorney who is knowledgeable about trust funding and i swilling to help you fund your Revocable Living Trust. Another good thing to look for is an attorney with a maintenance plan and a program where they will have annual meetings each year.

    To many attorneys hand you a document and that ends the relationship. You want an attorney that will make a solid plan for you and then help you put it in place and keep it running. Much like a car a good estate plan needs to have its oil changed regularly.

    Disclaimer: The foregoing answer does not constitute legal advice, is provided for informational and educational purposes only for persons interested in the subject matter. Each situation is fact specific and may be subject to state specific laws. Without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem fully. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. No Tax Advice - Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment is not intended to constitute a comprehensive and complete tax consideration analysis, and may not be used by the taxpayer to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency, nor for the purpose of promoting, marketing or making recommendations to other persons on any tax-related matters.

  5. In Florida, attorneys can go through a board certification process to get certified in Wills, Trusts, and Probate law in order to call themselves a specialist in that area of law. In order to take the exam, attorneys have to have been in practice for a certain number of years, handled a certain number of probate matters, and take a very challenging exam in order to demonstrate knowledge of estate and gift taxes, probate and trust administration, general estate planning, and some litigation issues. You can search the Florida Bar website ( for board certified wills and trusts attorneys. That is a good place to start. If there is not one in your area that you feel comfortable with, then you should also look for an LLM designation in either tax or estate planning. An LLM is an additional law degree that shows that a lawyer has done at least one more year of additional study in tax or estate planning exclusively. That, in combination with years of practice, and how much of their practice is in estate planning, should help you find a knowledgeable and competent attorney.

    Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

  6. I agree with all the other attorney answers. You may be best to set up a number of in person consultations to determine which attorney you feel you will be able to trust, have a good relationship with, and one that will give you all the attention you need when you have questions. Also, since circumstances in life may change at any time, or a law may change, you will need an attorney who will be able to give you immediate assistance in updating or changing your estate plan very quickly in order to provide you with the full protection under the law.

    This answer has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and it is recommended that you seek an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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