How to find the best living trust attorney in Lakewood, California?
The median price of a single-family home in Lakewood, California, is $699,999 (as of April 2021). If you are a responsible homeowner in Lakewood, having a living trust set up is a must.
After all, $700,000 is a lot of money for most people… If something happens to you, who is going to get the house? In addition to the main residence, some Lakewood homeowners also have one or several rental properties. Others may also have cash, stocks, bonds, businesses, etc.
Protect your assets and your legacy
If you don’t have a living trust, you don’t really have a plan for your assets once you are no longer here. Surely, a Lakewood resident passes away intestate (no living trust or will), the state of California has a plan for you. But why would anyone want to forego their right to dictate the terms of their inheritance and relinquish the right to the state?
In addition, even having a will does not escape probate… The word probate roughly means “to prove the will” in Latin, so even if a Lakewood resident leaves a will, his or her house will still have to go through the probate process, which is costly and time-consuming.
You can learn more about the benefits of a living trust here. The article is written with residents of Downey in mind, but the laws are the same in the entire state of California. A professionally crafted living trust will save you a lot of money, prevent potential heartache and ensure that your possessions are distributed in accordance with your wishes. The living trust is hands down the most cost-effective and surefire way to accomplish that.
Have you noticed that this is true only when it comes to “professionally crafted” living trust? If you don’t want unpleasant surprises, you want to hire the best estate planning attorney in Lakewood to do the job. Keep in mind that there are no do-overs once you pass away. Unfortunately, you find out how robust your estate planning is once you – quite literally – die!
How do I know which estate planning attorney in or near Lakewood is “the best”?
Trust, but verify!
You can start by doing some basic research. How long has the law firm been in business? Is the attorney primarily does estate planning or does he/she dabble in a little bit of everything?
Law, like any professional career, is very specialized. If a person is having problems with their heart, they want to see a cardiologist, and if they need heart surgery, they want to be operated on by a cardiothoracic surgeon. If you have a cavity or need a wisdom tooth removed, you want to see a dentist even though both the heart surgeon and the dentist are doctors.
The bottom line is, in the fast-paced, high-stakes modern world, you want to do business with specialists.
You can gather a lot of information just by poking around a law firm’s website. After doing so, head to the neutral third party’s site – The State Bar of California. What’s great about the bar website is that you can look up any licensed attorney and see if they have earned any specialization.
If you look up “Paul Horn”, under Certified Legal Specialty, you will see the following:
Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law (State Bar of California). This certification is not just handed out to everyone – it is earned. Less than 1% of California lawyers have been certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law. Obtaining the certification requires years of practice, additional exams, and favorable evaluation by their peers – other attorneys and judges familiar with the attorney’s work.
If you need a living trust (or representation in a probate case), you want to work with someone who holds the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law certification.
Don’t rely on Yelp, but don’t skip it either
In addition, you can check out popular review sites, such as Yelp. While sometimes these sites are mistrusted by the public, if you see a clear trend – clients are generally happy or clients are generally unhappy – you may want to reconsider whether you want to do business with the law firm in question.
A word of caution: when doing your research, avoid clicking on search engine ads. They are clearly labeled by a small wording on the left which says “AD.” Since ads come up first in search and they are convenient, it is very tempting to just click on the first couple of sponsored results and forego your own research.
Plenty of high-quality estate planning attorneys in Lakewood do advertise on search engines and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if the law firm’s website is not coming up organically at all and the firm is pouring a lot of money in flashy ads, it is prudent to question why they chose this strategy. A successful law firm is busy without the excessive need to advertise.
About Paul Horn
Here at Paul Horn Law Firm, we advertise, but we also create a lot of free educational content. Pal Horn is a sought-after speaker and educator. Paul regularly conducts webinars for real estate agents and investors on probate and estate planning matters. He has been asked to speak and train real estate professionals in California by every major real estate association.
Paul is also the creator of the only Probate Specialist Certification course offered by the California Association of Realtors.