How to Select the Right Estate Planning Attorney for Your Needs

What is Estate Planning?

First things first—what is an estate plan, and why do you need one? Estate planning involves financial preparations in the event of your incapacitation or death. The core documents involved in estate planning include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and living wills. A good estate plan appoints an administrator to carry out your wishes, determines beneficiaries to inherit your assets, and takes steps to minimize estate taxes.

Estate Planning Attorney In Tracy, CA

The Importance of Choosing the Right Attorney

Not all attorneys are equally qualified or experienced in the areas where you require assistance. The decisions you make during the estate planning process will affect your family’s financial security and peace of mind once you’re gone. Estate planning involves complex legal and financial issues requiring specialized knowledge to navigate successfully. Expect an experienced attorney to provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.

Remember, estate planning is not a one-time event but a process that requires updates and adjustments as your circumstances change. Therefore, having a lawyer you can trust and build a long-term relationship with is essential. Proper planning also helps avoid common pitfalls and mistakes that could result in financial losses or legal issues, making your choice of attorney a vital decision for your family’s future.

Qualifications to Look for in an Estate Planning Attorney

Take your time when finding the right estate planning law firm in Tracy, CA. Your decision should be based on far more than a quick internet search. Here are the most important qualifications and attributes to consider.

Experience and Specialization

Experience is a crucial factor when selecting an estate planning attorney. Look for a professional who has been practicing law for a minimum of five years to ensure they have handled a variety of cases. For the best results, the lawyer should specialize in estate planning to ensure they know the latest laws and tax strategies.


Look for an attorney who has been certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. This is a California Supreme Court-approved method of certifying attorneys as specialists in certain areas.


Reading online reviews provides valuable insights into an attorney’s service quality and client satisfaction. As you gauge past clients’ experiences, look for consistent praise of good communication, professionalism, and results.

Ethical Standards and Professional Ratings

High ethics are essential when choosing an estate planning attorney. A Martindale-Hubbell® BV Distinguished® rating indicates that the lawyer has demonstrated high ethical standards and professional excellence. Also, check your state’s bar association website for any history of disciplinary actions against the attorney. A clean record and strong reputation in the legal community provide peace of mind that you’re working with a trustworthy professional.

What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation

Your first meeting with an estate planning attorney is an opportunity to assess whether they are a good fit for your needs. To make the most of this consultation, it’s important to come prepared. Bring financial statements and any previous estate planning documents, including wills and trusts. During the consultation, be ready to discuss your family, financial situation, and estate planning goals. This discussion will help the attorney understand your circumstances and tailor their advice accordingly.

It’s also important to ask questions about the attorney’s experience, fee structure, and approach to estate planning. Understanding how they will handle your case and the costs involved helps you make an informed decision. As you ask these questions, note your comfort level with the attorney. You should feel at ease and confident in the attorney’s abilities to manage your estate plan.

Why Choose Bakerink, McCusker & Belden for Estate Planning?

Estate law is complex. Unless you have an incredibly simple estate, you probably need a lawyer to help you make the best decisions and create documents that will hold up over time. That’s where the team at Bakerink, McCusker & Belden comes in.

We have over 35 years of legal experience providing the guidance our clients need and deserve. Our law firm is consistently ranked among the “Best of Tracy” and holds a distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubbell. We offer personalized and passionate legal support for all your estate planning needs. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation in Tracy, CA, and let us help secure your family’s future.