If you have not worked closely with an attorney before it can be a bit intimidating and confusing the first time. If you have decided to finally sit down and create an estate plan with us you have made an excellent decision. Because an estate plan is highly personal it often takes several visits to decide what needs to be included in your plan and what strategies will be used to accomplish your estate planning goals and objectives. Unlike other types of legal representation, estate planning never really ends. Your plan should be updated on a regular basis as well as when important life events dictate. Because they are unsure how the process works, clients often ask us “ Do I work with you or a paralegal? ” In most cases, you will work with both; however, a better way to answer that question is to provide some guidance with regard to how estate planning works in general.
First, it is important to stress that only an attorney can give you legal advice and assist you with creating your estate plan. Therefore, you will always work directly with your attorney when making important decisions regarding your estate plan. It is common, however, for paralegals to work closely with an attorney as well. A paralegal is someone who has been specially trained to work in a law office or for an attorney. Although a paralegal does not have a law degree, he or she will be familiar with the basic legal concepts and legal procedures required in estate planning. Often, if your attorney is tied up with another client, or in court, it is more efficient and beneficial for you to be able to speak to your attorney’s paralegal when possible. A paralegal may also contact you with information you requested or o ask you for information needed by the attorney.
Because a paralegal works for your attorney, the paralegal is bound by the same attorney-client confidentiality requirements that your attorney is, meaning anything you say to a paralegal cannot be repeated outside the office and must be held in the strictest of confidence. In addition, anything and everything a paralegal works on is reviewed by your attorney.
If, at any time, you are not comfortable working with, or speaking to, a paralegal, you many certainly express your concerns and ask to speak directly to your attorney. Paralegals are typically a beneficial addition to a law practice for both the attorneys and the clients; however, they do not take the place of your attorney. At Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP our clients always come first. If you have any additional questions or concerns about the attorney-client relationship feel free to ask.
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