How to Pick an Estate Planning Attorney

March 17, 2016



There are few more important endeavors we undertake as we age then properly planning our estate, and in doing so, it is very important to pick the right attorney. But how do you know who the best estate planning attorney for your needs is?


What is “Estate Planning”?


To pick the best attorney, it is helpful to first understand what your needs are. Most of us hear the term “estate planning” and think it is not something that applies to us because we aren’t rich. You do not need to be wealthy, however, to engage in estate planning. In fact, estate planning is extremely important and beneficial to middle class, hard working Americans. The more aggressively you do plan the future of your estate, the more money you will save, allowing your family or other beneficiaries to benefit to the full extent possible.


Estate planning means making a plan for what will happen to your property when you die. Doing it avoids probate, which can be extremely time consuming and frustrating, reduces estate taxes, and sets up trusts for your loved ones. Estate planning also includes plans for your incapacity or serious illness. The complexity of your estate will guide your choice in choosing an attorney.


How to Choose the Right Attorney


There is no shortage of trusts and estates attorneys in Iowa and elsewhere. The trick is finding the right one to suit your needs. In most cases, people have specific concerns that can help inform the choice of attorney. So, for example, if your father has just passed away and you need an attorney to help settle his estate, what you will look for first is an experienced trusts and estate attorney who has probated many cases in the county where your father lived, as probate rules vary by county. If you are seeking to advance-plan your own estate, you want somebody with depth of experience both in drafting trusts, in tax, and in any other areas which may be relevant to your specific issues.


You will find that although many lawyers refer to themselves as experts in estate work, they have little experience in what you need. It is important to work with a reputable law firm that has a deep and diverse background in all aspects of estate planning, whether your issues relate to your own potential incapacity, issues of child custody, business succession planning, and tax-related estate issues.


Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff Can Help


In addition to maintaining positions of trust in the Iowa government and legislature, many of the estate planning lawyers with Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff practice trusts and estates in both Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, as we have offices in both. The experienced estate planning attorneys at the Iowa law firm of Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff can help you plan your estate in a cost-effective way, and help you make plans not only for when you are gone, but if you are still here but can no longer advocate for yourself. Call or email us today for an initial consultation.





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