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How to Formalize Your Selection of an Estate Attorney

After you have researched attorney credentials, interviewed estate lawyers, and discussed pricing, you will be ready to make a final decision on an attorney to assist with the administration of your estate or trust. Once your selection is made, you will proceed to formalize the arrangement. Often, an engagement letter is used to formally establish a working relationship between attorney and client.

  • The engagement letter outlines the scope of the work to be performed. A clear definition of the attorney’s responsibilities and your duties as fiduciary should be established. For example, you may be responsible for providing the attorney with all relevant information, and he or she may undertake to provide necessary forms and documents to be filed.

  • Generally, engagement letters are formulaic. You should still take the time to read through them carefully. Anything you don’t agree with can be deleted. Additions can be manually inserted, provided that both you and the attorney initial the changes.

  • Ask questions if anything in the letter is unclear. After all, it’s your decedent’s estate.

Remember, your choice isn’t irrevocable. You may change attorneys at any time and for any reason. Dissatisfaction with your choice, even without professional misconduct or shady dealings, is reason to try again.

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