"Money matters are not an area where we can afford to make mistakes. And no matter how smart you are, or how wide and deep your financial knowledge, there are times when an objective observer can add to your bottom line, big time."
-NEW JERSEY ONLINE (OCT. 6, 2010): PICKING A TEAM OF FINANCIAL PROS
I have always suggested to clients that they have an estate planning team. I ran across an article at New Jersey online last week with advice about how to pick such a team of professional financial advisors. I was pleased to see the writer included estate planning attorneys as part of your essential advisory team! I also thought some of their tips for choosing an attorney were worth passing along:
- Think about your needs and then find an attorney who specializes in meeting them. For example, if you have elder-care issues, or tax concerns, find an attorney who is experienced at resolving issues similar to yours.
- Visit the websites of some of the professional organizations. You’ll find they usually have membership directories to help you start your search. I can recommend a few, including the American College of Trust and Estate Council (ACTEC), and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Also, look for membership in your state and county bar associations.
- Professional referrals – reputation is important, so ask other, allied professionals for their recommendations.
I would add a few more resources for you to check out:
- AVVO - You can search AVVO to find an attorney by specialty, name and/or geographic location. You’ll also find each attorney’s AVVO rating, client ratings and reviews, and their disciplinary history. (Click here for my AVVO profile.)
- Martindale – As opposed to AVVO, Martindale offers a peer-review rating, whereby attorneys are rated, not by clients, but by other attorneys. You search for a lawyer by specialty, name and/or geographic location. (Click here for my Martindale profile)
- Facebook, Blogs & Twitter – when you visit a lawyer’s website, go ahead and try to find them on through various social media as well. By visiting their blog, following them on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll get to know more about their personality and how they interact with others. (Click here to follow me on Twitter and here to follow me on facebook.)
If you do some due diligence on your professional advisors, you will likely be more pleased with the services they provide. Of course, I hope you will consider making my staff and I part of your estate planning team.