Guide on Finding a Reliable Estate Planning Attorney in the Bay Area

Guide on Finding a Reliable Estate Planning Attorney in the Bay Area

Guide on Finding a Reliable Estate Planning Attorney in the Bay Area

Estate planning is especially important to secure the future of not just yourself but that of your loved ones. Some people think only those who are very rich should consider estate planning, but this is not true. This plan goes beyond having a will.

It is comprehensive and can be very important for keeping your financial affairs in check. You can check this article to learn the importance of estate planning. In some cases, you can carry out your estate planning by yourself using an online application. But when the situation is more complex, it may pay to get an attorney who will handle it for you.

Estate planning attorneys (also called probate attorneys) are licensed lawyers who help people with everything concerning their estates. From how it is valued, distributed, taxed, and inventoried after a person’s death. They offer several services from writing wills to establishing guardianship and trusts, protecting estates and assets from creditors, and so on.

Finding a reliable estate planning lawyer can be overwhelming and challenging; so much so that you may even consider putting off your plan altogether. But when you know what to look for, you will have an easier time finding a reliable attorney. In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take to find a reliable and reputable estate planning attorney.

Figure Out Your Needs

Before you begin your search, you first have to figure out your needs. You need to know the goals you are trying to achieve to find a lawyer who will help you achieve them. What is your goal?

Is it to write a new plan, revise an existing one, address a particular aspect of an existing plan, set up trusts or guardianship or do you need help reducing your estate’s tax liabilities? Figuring out your goal will make it easier for you to find a lawyer who has the expertise to handle your peculiar situation. Once you are sure of your goals and needs, you can then use the information to streamline your search.

Search Locally

Going local is particularly important when hiring a probate lawyer. Some people make the mistake of just going with the first lawyer they find without even considering their location. But what this means is that you may end up hiring someone who is not versed in your state’s estate laws.

Estate planning laws typically vary in different states; an attorney who practices in one state may not be up to date with the laws in the state you live in. For instance, if you live in San Francisco, you will have to get an estate planning attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area because you’ll be sure that they’ll comply with all the laws in the state. Furthermore, using a local attorney will improve convenience for you throughout the entire process.

Get Recommendations from Family and Friends

One method of finding a trustworthy probate lawyer is getting recommendations from your family and friends. If someone you trust has used this service before and had a smooth experience, they will be more than happy to recommend the attorney to you. However, do not ask just anyone for recommendations; only ask people you trust and those who share similar life goals and values with you.

This way, you can be more confident in the recommendation you get. However, you still need to vet the lawyer recommended to you even when someone recommended them you trust. You can get a list of attorneys this way and then vet each of them to find the best amongst them.

Interview Prospective Lawyers

Do not make the mistake of hiring the first lawyer you find. Before you decide on anyone, you need to take your time to vet them and be sure that they will offer you reliable and smooth service. Make a list of potential probate lawyers based on recommendations and then interview them to find out the best among them.

The interview should not be complicated or lengthy. Ask quick and easy questions that will help you determine the reliability and reputation of the lawyer. Find out where they got their law degree, how they intend to communicate with you and update you about the plan, how long they have been practicing, their rates and fees, and so on.

Do not be shy as you ask your questions; ask your questions assertively and clearly to ensure you get clear and accurate replies. You can visit https://www.mindtools.com/ to learn how to be assertive. The answers you get from the interviews should help you determine the customer service, reputation, cost, trustworthiness, and reliability of the companies you are considering. You can then use this knowledge to make your decision.


Finding a reliable estate planning attorney is easy when you know where to look. When it comes to finding probate lawyers, the most important thing is to go local. So, as someone living in the Bay Area, you need to limit your search to your locality. This is the best way to ensure that the lawyer complies with the state’s estate planning laws and ensures the process goes as smoothly as possible.