Avoid These Red Flags When Vetting Estate Planning Attorneys in Long Island
Finding an estate planning lawyer in Long Island that you can trust can be a difficult process and one that can become more complex than necessary if you don’t know what to look out for. We have had thousands of clients over the years and we’ve heard all sorts of stories of different shady tactics or things that they’ve run into with other attorneys before finding our team so we’ve compiled a quick list of some of the red flags to look out for when vetting estate planning attorneys in Long Island.
By the way, we hope and welcome that you will ask us about these as well!
“General Practice” Lawyers Who Happen to Do Estates in Long Island
Unfortunately, general practice attorneys in Long Island love to take on niche cases like estate planning because they know that they can make a quick dollar and will be trusted by most of their clients because law is law right? But unfortunately, Estate Planning and general practice law are worlds apart and these general practice attorneys here in Long Island that try to take on estate planning often run into a number of hurdles because they don’t know the intricacies of proper estate planning.
We’ve seen all sorts of clients who come to us with drafted plans that were made by General practice attorneys that we can poke so many holes in in a matter of minutes. Don’t let a general practice attorney set you up for failure just because they want to make a quick buck taking on a case they’re not prepared to take on.
Fee-Based Plans With No Service Retainer
We are certainly not out here telling you that fee-based agreements are always a death sentence or that you can’t find an honest attorney who does these kinds of deals. However, we just urge that if you’re going to do a fee-based agreement, you make sure that there is a clause in the contract that keeps your attorney on retainer throughout the entire process of your estate-planning journey in Long Island. This happens far too often where attorneys will put a fee-based agreement in place and then end up making thousands of dollars to essentially file a couple pieces of paper.
While estate planning in Long Island can be incredibly complex, you should always know that you have your attorney at your disposal when you need them most.
Estate Planning Attorneys Who Prefer to Hold Funds in Escrow
We also urge our clients to look out for attorneys that hold funds in escrow before being distributed to their loved ones. This again is not a hard-and-fast rule as some attorneys use this tactic in a very ethical and convenient way, however this also puts a lot of power in the attorney’s hands and puts a lot of your money at risk if the person you have selected to distribute it pulls some legal magic and does not distribute it properly.
Instead, try to work out an agreement where your lawyer can distribute to an estate account or a personal account of your trustees.
The “Let’s Just Get it Done” Lawyer
The truth of the matter is that estate planning initiatives in Long Island take a long time — as they should. These are complicated cases that require very intensive research review, and processing of high-dollar amounts of assets. Don’t let general practice attorneys or inexperienced attorneys trick you into thinking this is a simple process, and likewise, don’t let your attorney rush and miss details that they should catch.
Obviously, you want your assets to be distributed properly and in the most efficient manner possible, but just make sure that your attorney is taking the time to do the job the right way.