Estate planning can feel like a daunting task, right? Who can you trust with the critical role of managing your property, finances, and your legacy? An estate lawyer is an individual who can provide expert guidance through the process. Armed with extensive knowledge of laws regarding property, wills, trusts, and probate, they are instrumental in the design and implementation of an effective estate plan.
As an estate lawyer, the primary role includes:
- Preparing legal documents (Will and Trust)
- Offering counsel on estate and tax planning
- Managing estate and trust administration
- Litigating trust and probate issues.
In sum, estate lawyers support a smooth and stress-free transition of your estate to your designated beneficiaries.
At MAH Advising PLLC, we don’t see you exclusively as a client, but as part of our extended family, pushing to secure the best possible outcome for you and the generations to come.
Importance of Hiring a Trustworthy Estate Lawyer
Now, let’s address another noteworthy topic – finding a trustworthy estate lawyer. The growth of equity and digital assets further amplifies the necessity for competent estate management. It’s not enough to hire just any lawyer; they should appreciate and understand the ever-evolving financial landscape, advising on estate and succession planning that protect your interests even in your absence.
This article is dedicated to helping you find the perfect partner for this crucial aspect of life planning. We will examine the key criteria to look out for and review the top 10 estate law firms you should consider. The ultimate goal is to empower you with knowledge to make the right decision and rest easy knowing your estate is in good hands.
That said, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets to finding a skilled and trustworthy estate lawyer.
Criteria for Selecting a Trustworthy Estate Lawyer
Finding the perfect estate lawyer for your needs isn’t an easy task, but keeping some key criteria in mind can simplify the process. Let’s break down the four most important aspects you should consider when looking for a dependable estate lawyer.
Board Certification and Specialization
The first thing to look for is an estate lawyer who is board certified. Board certification is a testament to the attorney’s commitment to their specialization. It also indicates that they have undergone rigorous testing and peer review, affirming their competence in trust and estate law. For instance, the Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers are a group of attorneys who have proven their expertise in this field.
Specialization is another crucial factor. An attorney who specializes in estate law is likely to be more knowledgeable and skilled in this area than a general practitioner. Make sure the lawyer you’re considering has a solid background in handling estate matters similar to yours.
Experience and Reputation
Experience is a key indicator of an attorney’s ability to handle complex estate matters. An experienced estate lawyer has likely dealt with a variety of situations and can provide effective solutions based on their past encounters.
Reputation, on the other hand, speaks volumes about an attorney’s professionalism and ethics. Look for lawyers who are highly recommended by their clients. Testimonials and reviews can provide valuable insight into a lawyer’s work ethic, reliability, and client satisfaction rate.
Availability and Accessibility
Your estate lawyer should be readily available whenever you need their services. They should be able to respond promptly to your queries and concerns. The last thing you want is to feel ignored or left in the dark about your own legal matter.
Accessibility is equally important. A local lawyer is often more accessible and has a better understanding of the local estate laws. At MAH Advising PLLC, we value our clients’ time and strive to be available and accessible to them at all times.
Every client and estate is unique, and so should be the approach to handling it. A lawyer who takes the time to understand your specific needs and goals will be better equipped to provide tailored solutions. At MAH Advising PLLC, we invest time in understanding our clients’ challenges and objectives from the outset. Our counsel and legal services are customized to produce effective, personalized results.
In conclusion, finding a trustworthy estate lawyer involves considering their board certification, experience, availability, and approach to your specific needs. By considering these criteria, you can ensure that you find the right legal partner to navigate the complex world of estate law.
Review of Top 10 Estate Law Firms
Firm 1: Anne Curry
Anne Curry, a Board Certified Indiana Estate and Trust lawyer, stands out with her extensive experience in estate planning, estate and trust administration, and estate and trust litigation. She also specializes in non-profit formation and income, estate, and fiduciary income taxation. Moreover, she focuses her practice on special needs planning for children and adults, a niche in estate law that requires specialized knowledge and compassion.
Firm 2: Bradley J. Dougherty
Bradley J. Dougherty, a partner in the Corporate Department of the Indianapolis office of Barnes & Thornburg, is highly adept at handling business transactions, estate planning, and estate administration. His work with individuals and closely held businesses, as well as family businesses, showcases his ability to cater to a wide range of clients.
Firm 3: John M. Olivieri
John M. Olivieri is renowned for focusing his practice on estate planning, business succession planning, charitable giving, and asset protection. His ability to assist clients in transferring wealth from one generation to the next in a tax-efficient manner is an invaluable asset.
Firm 4: Alexandra French
With her unique background in agriculture and understanding of the challenges facing the industry, Alexandra French stands out for her expertise in handling litigation matters that arise at various stages in the farm-to-food pipeline.
Firm 5: Matthew R. Effner
Matthew R. Effner, the managing partner of Effner Law Firm, is highly skilled at building strong cases and advocating zealously for his clients. His experience in handling issues both in and out of the courtroom, and his reputation as the Best Lawyer in the Tribune Star Readers’ Choice Award, make him a top choice.
Firm 6: Christopher Jansen
Christopher Jansen is known for his 11 years of experience as a juvenile probation officer, which gives him a unique perspective on the court system. His focus is on helping families prepare for their future through estate planning, child custody, adoption, family law, and criminal defense.
Firm 7: Trisha Paul
Trisha Paul is highly experienced in estate planning and specializes in complex issues like the avoidance or reduction of estate, inheritance, and generation-skipping taxes, various techniques for making gifts to individuals and charities, life insurance, disability, and distributions from retirement accounts.
Firm 8: Zachary Witte
With nearly twenty years of experience, Zachary Witte is an expert in elder law, estate planning, and probate & trust administration. His expertise in assisting clients with asset protection, Medicaid eligibility, long-term care planning, and general business matters makes him incredibly versatile.
Firm 9: Rebecca W. Geyer
Rebecca W. Geyer is the founder of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates P.C. Her practice focuses on estate planning, estate and trust administration, elder law, tax planning, and business services, showcasing her extensive knowledge and experience in these areas.
Firm 10: Cara M. Chittenden
Cara M. Chittenden, an Associate Attorney at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates P.C., has extensive experience in family law and civil litigation. Her empathetic approach to her clients and understanding of their unique circumstances make her an excellent choice for those seeking a personalized legal service.
While all these firms offer high-quality estate law services, at MAH Advising PLLC, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide tailored solutions to our clients’ specific needs, aggressive legal counsel, and round-the-clock availability. As our company’s expert, Michael Hurckes, will tell you, we’re not just attorneys—we’re your trusted partners in navigating the complexities of estate law.
How to Approach an Estate Lawyer
Successfully approaching an estate lawyer requires preparation and understanding the right questions to ask. This ensures you make the most of your first meeting and sets the stage for a fruitful attorney-client relationship.
Preparing for the First Meeting
Before your first meeting with an estate lawyer, gather all necessary documents related to your estate. This may include deeds to property, life insurance policies, tax returns, and details of any business interests. By providing a comprehensive view of your estate, the lawyer can better understand your situation and provide suitable advice.
Additionally, consider your objectives. Are you looking to draft a will, set up a trust, or navigate probate? Defining your goals can help the attorney pinpoint the best course of action. Don’t forget to also think about potential challenges or unique circumstances that might affect your estate planning, such as a complex family situation or special needs beneficiaries.
Lastly, be ready to discuss sensitive topics. Estate planning can involve confronting uncomfortable realities, but an estate lawyer is there to assist you, not judge. Honesty is essential to ensure your will or trust accurately reflects your wishes.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Estate Lawyer
Your first meeting is also an opportunity to evaluate the lawyer’s suitability for your needs. Here are some questions you might consider asking:
- What is your experience in estate law? You want to ensure that the lawyer has a solid background in the specific area you need help with.
- Can you explain your fee structure? Understanding how the lawyer charges (whether it’s a flat fee, hourly rate, or percentage of the estate) can help avoid misunderstandings later.
- How will our communications work? Clarify how often you’ll receive updates and who your primary point of contact will be.
- Can you provide references from previous clients? This can give you an idea of the lawyer’s track record and how they handle client relationships.
You’re not just hiring a lawyer—you’re choosing someone to guide you through complex and often emotional decisions. The right estate lawyer should not only be highly skilled but also someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing personal matters.
At MAH Advising PLLC, we understand the importance of this relationship. Our team, including expert Michael Hurckes, is ready to assist you with a comprehensive and empathetic approach to estate planning.
Recap of Top 10 Estate Law Firms
Whether you’re seeking assistance with estate planning, trust administration, or managing an inheritance, the process requires a knowledgeable and trustworthy estate lawyer. The top ten firms we’ve discussed have demonstrated high standards of professionalism and expertise, with a strong commitment to personalized service.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Right Estate Lawyer
Making the decision to hire an estate lawyer may seem overwhelming, but it’s an essential step in securing your family’s future. At MAH Advising PLLC, we understand the importance of making the right choice.
When choosing an estate lawyer, remember to consider their experience, reputation, and how comfortable you feel with them. The lawyer’s approach should align with your needs and expectations. They should be able to provide high-quality service, understand your unique situation, and tailor their services to your specific requirements.
As Michael Hurckes, an expert at MAH Advising PLLC, often says, “A good estate lawyer is not only defined by their technical skills but also by their ability to understand and empathize with their clients’ needs”.
Finally, keep in mind that this is a relationship built on trust. You should feel at ease discussing personal matters and confident in your estate lawyer’s ability to handle your affairs professionally and discreetly.
If you’re looking for a trustworthy estate lawyer, don’t hesitate to contact us at MAH Advising PLLC. We’re here to help guide you through your estate planning process with the utmost care and professionalism.