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10 Key Considerations When Selecting an Estate Planning Attorney

What is the best way to discover an excellent estate planning attorney in Ottawa? Selecting an attorney to represent you is a crucial decision, and this should not be taken solely based on advertising. You should ask a few things to get the finest estate planning lawyer for you and your family.

Key Considerations

  1. Don’t limit your search to a specific location

First and foremost, while your attorney should be licensed in your province, you should not limit your search there. In your location, there may only be a few estate planning attorneys. Don’t be concerned about geography when looking for the best attorney in your area for your family. Our firm represents clients all around Ottawa and surrounding areas. A trusts and estates law company may also have a satellite location in your area where you can meet with a knowledgeable attorney right for you.


  1. Obtain a referral from a lawyer or other professional advisor

Get a recommendation from a friend or family member who is an attorney, financial advisor or CPA. They are likely to know an experienced estate planning attorney who focuses on this area of the law.


  1. Internet directories should be avoided

Be wary of internet “directories” that promise to connect you with a skilled attorney. Almost every day, we get calls from companies offering to list us in their directories for a charge. The majority of these “specialized directories” are sketchy because they are nothing more than an online yellow pages ad. If you’re looking for an attorney online, look for sites that a third party has vetted. 


  1. Is the attorney primarily concerned with estate planning?

Many lawyers claim to provide estate planning services. Of course, there are a lot of people who do. However, the key question is, “Do they practice exclusively in this field of law?” The advantage here is that the attorney will be far more likely to be up-to-date on current law and concerns in the estate practice realm. They are also more likely to correctly identify areas that may become problematic in the future, if proper planning is not implemented.


  1. Be wary of referral hotlines run by bar associations

Understand that these referral systems require lawyers to sign up and pay a fee to be included in specific specializations. Their names appear regularly. Also, keep in mind that the bar association isn’t deciding who is a good lawyer and who isn’t, and they’re merely linking a good-standing bar member with a potential client.


  1. Is the lawyer an author in the field of estate planning?

Before you step in the door, ask each attorney if they have a book, published articles or a website with pertinent content they have written, so you can learn more about their qualifications and expertise.

  1. Don’t fall for fancy slogans and hype

“We care about you”, “We help you avoid probate” and “We assist you in securing your assets” are all worthless slogans. After all, aren’t these the kinds of things you’d obviously anticipate from an estate planning lawyer?family estate planning

  1. Is the lawyer covered by malpractice insurance?

Does legal malpractice insurance cover the lawyer? This is an indication of responsibility. You should not hire an attorney who does not have malpractice insurance since anyone can make a mistake. Remember that an attorney is not required to carry malpractice insurance in some locations. Don’t be led astray by an attorney who does not value their clients enough to carry malpractice insurance. 

  1. Inquire about the attorney’s legal education

Law schools that are more difficult to get into, like any other school, have stricter standards and only take the top students. The law school ranking system is divided into four levels, with the first tier being the most prestigious and difficult to obtain. Inquire about the attorney’s legal education.

  1. Is the lawyer a member of a professional organization?

Membership in an association shows that the attorney you’re considering is dedicated to remaining updated on the most recent estate planning eventualities. These organizations provide their members with significant education as well as peer networking opportunities. If, for example, your doctor is about to operate on you, you’ll want to make sure he or she is up-to-date on the newest medical advances. Similarly, you’ll want to ensure your estate planning attorney is current on the most recent law and planning procedures to safeguard you and your family.

McGuinty Law can help with all your estate planning needs in the Ottawa region.  Visit us online or call us at (613) 526-3858 today.