The qualities of a competent estate planning attorney include having a great deal of experience in the practice of law, having a practice concentration in estate planning, keeping up with the most current laws and estate planning techniques and being a good drafts person who writes clear and unambiguous estate planning documents.

A good estate planning attorney is also a person who learns as much as he/she can about the client and the client’s family and the planning objectives that the client has, and who can prepare an estate plan that fully addresses and fulfills these objectives.

All of that being said, as noted in the answer to the question immediately below, just having these qualities alone with nothing more, doesn’t make a person a great estate planning attorney.

What Sets Your Firm Apart? What Makes You Different and Unique in this Area of Work?

First, we have more than 30 years of experience, yet continue to attend continuing education events on a regular basis to keep up with the latest in the law and current planning techniques. Second, we’re not doing anything else. We’re not doing divorces, personal injury, bill collection, employment law, or the like. Estate planning and matters intertwined with the estate planning we do is all we do, all day, every day.

Also, designing a plan that meets the client’s current goals and objectives is not enough. The name(s) in which assets are owned and beneficiary designations on things life retirement plan accounts and life insurance have to be coordinated with the estate planning documents or the plan likely won’t work to distribute property to the intended persons and on the terms they are supposed to receive it. In our office, we take care of the asset coordination for all of our clients. Other firms do not.

Finally, even if we draft the perfect plan today, if it is not looked at again for many years, it may be far from the perfect plan then. Over time, your family will change, your assets will change, the laws will change, your objectives may change, and the world will change. Recognizing this, we have a formal periodic review process to assure that at any particular point in time, our clients’ goals and objectives will be achieved. Other firms do not.

How Is An Attorney Compensated For Doing An Estate Plan?

Many attorneys charge fees hourly, i.e. multiplying the number of hours expended on the plan by their regularly hourly rate.

We do not charge hourly for estate planning. Instead after listening to our client and determining what the best course of planning will be, we quote a flat fee upfront. That way, before we start any work, our client knows exactly what the fee will be and when it will be due. There will no surprises.

What Is The Best Way To Contact You For An Initial Consultation?

You can call our office at (314) 542-2210. Or you can go to our website at, and request an appointment. Our office will then contact you promptly to schedule your initial consultation.

This article was originally published by Steve Spewak on It is republished here with permission.