– Est. –

How to Get the Most From Your Attorney

Who doesn’t know at least one horrible and/or inappropriate joke about an attorney?  We don’t exactly have the best publicity going for us.  But when you need an attorney you need A Good One – because if you cut corners and don’t get a good estate planner at the outset, your estate may end up paying significantly more to litigate estate matters once you are gone.   

Sheila M. Blackford, the Practice Management Advisor for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund, has some excellent tips for the client and attorney to start the relationship off on the right foot: 

Start with clarity up front. Discuss key things at the initial client meeting:

  1. Client objectives in getting a lawyer for the situation;
  2. Legal process to go through;
  3. Range of possible outcomes with risks affecting success;
  4. Information that still needs to be gathered;
  5. Method of charging and billing for legal services; and
  6. Realistic estimate of how long the process may be and how much the legal fees and costs may be, based upon the present facts as discussed between attorney and client.

Communication remains key not only at the onset of an attorney-client relationship, but also throughout the legal representation. While estate or fiduciary planning requires a knowledge of family dynamics and personal goals that takes time to develop, it is well worth the efforts to avoid adverse tax or litigation expenses down the road.