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Finding estate planning attorney

I'm starting to look for an attorney for my estate planning. There are a LOT of attorneys in the yellow pages who do this type of work and some of them say they are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Does that matter? Should I select an attorney who is a member or is it just window dressing?

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I don't think it's just window dressing.  Being a member of the Academy, or of any professional organization, is a good thing.  Such organizations offer seminars and educational materials that help members stay up to date on legal issues and developments.
 
To me, however, experience is king.  Finding an attorney who does nothing but estate planning and probate work is good, but not absolutely necessary.  There are plenty of excellent estate planning attorneys who also practice real estate or some other type of law. Similarly, you do not necessarily need an attorney who has been doing it for 50 years.  In fact, sometimes recent graduates from law school are more up to date on changes in the law. 
 
It's always good to ask friends and families for references to discover if they know any attorneys whose work they can recommend.  Beyond that, what I would look for is a track record.  When you meet with a prospective attorney, ask her how many estate plans she has created. Additionally, she should be able to answer any questions you have about your estate planning goals in a straight forward manner, using easy to understand language.  Finally, ask him or her for a couple of references from people for whom he has done estate plans.  Good luck.



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