When choosing an estate plan attorney, you should consider:

Areas of practice.

Estate planning is very different from other areas of law, and your attorney should have a demonstrated track record helping clients in this domain. Experience in estate planning is a must, but he should also have experience in related fields such as probate law, family law, accounting, divorce, and business disputes.

Attention to your needs.

A comprehensive plan will typically include a last will and testament, financial and healthcare powers of attorney, guardianship designations, and a detailed list of assets and beneficiaries. However, each part of an estate plan can (and should) be customized to the specific needs of each client. If you desire a revocable or irrevocable trust, you attorney should help you create and fund each trust, so assets can pass to beneficiaries without probate. Your lawyer should have a clear understanding of what you want in order to create the best plan for you.

Dedication to clients.

It is not enough for your lawyer to understand how your estate plan works; he must also be able to explain the terms and limitations of your plan to you and your beneficiaries. Your attorney should take the time to walk you through complex matters, ensure that you fully understand each of the documents you sign, and offer a regular “check in” every few years to update your existing plan.


Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.