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How to Select an Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is a critical task for all adults, yet most Americans tend to procrastinate when it comes to estate planning even though it is critical to ensuring your loved ones are properly taken care of after your death. There are many things you simply do not want to leave to chance.  When you have an experienced estate planning attorney from Gullotta Law Group assisting you with your estate plan, you can be sure it will be done right and will fully reflect your unique situation as well as your goals. 

What Services Does an Estate Planning Attorney Provide?

A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can create wills and trusts that are very difficult for others to contest, can help you make plans for potential incapacitation, and can help you ensure all your loved ones are taken care of in the way you would want after your death. Estate planning attorneys can do the following:
  • Help you prepare a Last Will and Testament
  • Help you choose your beneficiaries and determine how your assets will be distributed after your death
  • Help you set up and manage a Living Trust or a charitable trust
  • Ensure your estate plan is ironclad in the face of contests
  • Help protect your assets from creditors
  • Help you minimize the tax liabilities your heirs will face
  • Help you appoint a guardian for your minor children
  • Prepare an Advanced Health Care Directive that will outline your end-of-life decisions
  • Prepare a durable power of attorney document for healthcare decisions
  • Help you plan for the unexpected, such as the death of a beneficiary
  • Help you handle assets not specifically bequeathed

How Do You Find the Right California Estate Planning Attorney for You and Your Family?

While the Internet can be useful for finding an estate planning attorney, it should never be your only source. There are many different methods of finding an estate planning attorney that is right for you, including: 
  1. Ask for referrals from family and friends
  2. Check with your state and local bar associations
  3. Ask for referrals from your financial advisor or accountant
  4. Check Local financial institutions
  5. Check attorneys used for other legal matters
  6. Check online Internet reviews.  
Once you have done all the things in the list above, rather than spending a lot of time and money interviewing several different attorneys, The Gullotta Law Group offers a no-cost, thirty minute consultation specifically to give you the opportunity to feel a high level of trust with your chosen attorney, and to enable you to make a confident decision about establishing a good working relationship with a competent Estate Planning Attorney. Estate planning is a very personal process—a process in which you will share personal information about your financial situation as well as your plans for them after your death. If you have a high level of trust in your chosen attorney, the entire estate planning process will be much easier. As you meet with each attorney, pay attention to your initial impression of each attorney. You may feel more at ease with one over the others. Then ask them these seven important questions:
  1. How long have you been practicing probate law and estate planning in the state of California?
  2. What law school did you attend? 
  3. How will we contact one another—phone, email, text?
  4. Will you be the person I talk to, or will it be someone else in your office?
  5. Will you send me reminders and updates in the future or is this a “one and done” service?
  6. What are your rates, and will you charge me hourly, or do you offer a fixed rate?
  7. Whether your rates are hourly or fixed, are there additional charges not included?
If you have specific needs, such as an adult special needs child, or a complex trust situation, ask if the attorney has experience in those areas. If you would like for your estate planning attorney to represent your family members during the probate process, make sure you ask about that as well.  Eliminate any attorneys you did not feel were a good fit, then check reviews of those remaining on your list, or talk with others who have used them in estate plan preparation. You may feel you need a follow-up conversation with one or more, and if you do, don’t hesitate to ask. While cost is certainly important, choosing the attorney with the cheapest prices is not always the best idea. 

How the Gullotta Law Group Can Help You with Your California Estate Plan

Gullotta Law Group assists our clients to create estate plans that best reflect their individual needs. Eric Gullotta grew up and continues to live locally.  Eric is well known and liked in the community. Most locals that don’t know Eric personally, know his father, who maintained a CPA business in Sonoma for many years. Contact Gullotta Law Group today. 
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