- Get a referral from someone you trust. Do you have an accountant or insurance person who has a style you like? What about a friend or relative who has completed a will -- who did they go to? If so, ask her or him for the name of an attorney who focuses on estate planning;
- Attend a seminar or workshop led by an estate planning attorney. Avoid those "free chicken lunch" seminars at hotels near the interstate. Those folks, who may not even be attorneys, are pedaling over priced livings trusts that most people do not need. Try finding seminars through college extension programs or other community sponsored organization;
- Get a description of the pricing and process in writing before hand. The attorney should know his or her practice well enough to be able to give you a concise overview of the process and costs involved. If not, seek other counsel.
- Interview at least 3 attorneys. Remember, they are working for you. Find the one that fits your situation, budget, and personality. There are thousands of attorneys out there, but not all of them are right for you.
- Check out the attorney you select with the State Bar to make sure he or she is in good standing. A simple phone call or internet search may save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Creating or updating a will and other estate planning documents is neither fun nor easy, but what new years resolutions are? And, with the right attorney, it should be far less painful than you imagine.