The Key to a Successful Estate Plan: 7 Qualities Your Winchester Estate Planning Attorney Should Have

April 15, 2023 – Matthew S. Akers & Douglas McCarthy

Did you know that only 1 out of 3 American adults have an estate plan in place? Without proper planning, your assets and loved ones could be left in a precarious situation. John and Mary, like many others, once viewed estate planning as an unnecessary burden. However, when John’s father unexpectedly passed away without an estate plan, they experienced firsthand the chaos and stress that can result.

If you’re concerned about protecting your assets and ensuring your family’s well-being in the face of the unknown, it’s time to take action. Contact the Winchester estate planning attorneys at McCarthy & Akers, PLC, at (540) 722-2181 to schedule your consultation. We’re here to help you every step of the way. Let us go to work for you!

But how do you know if you’ve found the right attorney to assist with your VA estate planning? Keep reading to discover the 7 qualities to look for in your estate planning partner who will put your mind at ease and secure your family’s future.

1. Experience in Estate Planning

In-Depth Knowledge of Practice Area

Estate planning is a complex area of law that requires an in-depth knowledge of the practice area. Look for an attorney well-versed in estate planning techniques and strategies who stays current on the latest laws and trends. A strong background in wills, trusts, probate, and estate administration is essential for an estate planning attorney.

Years in Practice

The number of years an attorney has been in practice can be a good indicator of their experience and skill level. An attorney with many years of experience is likely to have encountered a wide range of estate planning scenarios and can offer valuable insights and guidance.

2. Strong Communication Skills

Active Listening

Your estate planning attorney should be an active listener, taking the time to understand your unique situation, goals, and concerns. They should ask probing questions and be genuinely interested in getting to know you and your needs.

Clear Explanations

Estate planning can be complicated, and it’s crucial that your attorney can explain the various options and strategies in a way that is easy for you to understand. They should be able to break down complex concepts into simple, manageable terms.

3. Trustworthiness


Your estate planning attorney will be privy to sensitive financial and personal information. You must trust that they will maintain strict confidentiality and handle your information with the utmost care.


A trustworthy attorney should demonstrate integrity in all aspects of their practice, from providing honest advice to billing transparently. You should feel confident that your attorney always acts in your best interest.

4. Flexibility

Tailored Solutions

Every person’s estate planning needs are unique, and your attorney should be able to tailor their approach to your specific situation. They should be willing to explore different strategies and tools to create a customized plan that meets your objectives.

Adapting to Change

Life is full of surprises, and your estate planning attorney should be adaptable and ready to adjust your plan as needed. Whether it’s a change in your personal circumstances or updates in the law, your attorney can help you navigate these changes and ensure that your estate plan remains effective and relevant.

5. Organizational Skills

Attention to Detail

A successful estate plan requires meticulous attention to detail. Choose an attorney who thoroughly reviews your documents, spotting and addressing potential issues. They should also ensure your estate plan complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

Timely Updates

Your estate planning attorney should proactively keep you informed of any developments or updates that may impact your plan. Regular communication and timely updates are essential in maintaining a strong attorney-client relationship and ensuring your estate plan remains current.

6. Personalized Attention

Understanding Your Unique Needs

An experienced estate planning attorney recognizes that every client has their own set of unique circumstances and goals. They should take the time to listen to your concerns, understand your personal situation, and work with you to develop a plan that addresses your specific needs.
This requires personalized attention and the ability to customize estate planning strategies and techniques to fit your individual situation.

Accessible and Attentive

Your estate planning attorney should be accessible and responsive to your needs. They should be available to answer questions and provide guidance throughout the planning process, and you should feel comfortable reaching out to them with any concerns or issues that arise.
A responsive attorney can provide peace of mind and will take the time to understand your goals and concerns and work with you to develop a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs. A compassionate and attentive attorney can make all the difference in creating an estate plan that truly reflects your wishes.

7. Local Knowledge

State Laws and Regulations

Estate planning laws and regulations can vary significantly from state to state. Your Winchester estate planning attorney should have a strong understanding of Virginia’s specific laws and requirements, ensuring that your plan is tailored to meet the needs of your local jurisdiction.

Local Connections and Community Service

A well-connected attorney can be a valuable asset in your estate planning journey. Local connections help your attorney navigate the local court system more efficiently and collaborate with other professionals, such as financial advisors and accountants, who may play a role in your estate plan.

When it comes to community service, choosing estate planning attorneys committed to community service can have numerous advantages. Their empathy, community connections, dedication to giving back, strong work ethic, local awareness, trustworthiness, and compassion contribute to a more fulfilling and effective estate planning experience.

By working with an attorney who genuinely cares about the well-being of their clients and community, you can feel confident that your estate plan will be crafted with care, expertise, and a genuine understanding of your unique needs and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is estate planning?
A: Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for the management and distribution of your assets after you pass away.

Q: Why is estate planning important?
A: Estate planning can help protect your assets, minimize taxes, and ensure your wishes are fulfilled after you pass away.

Q: What documents are included in an estate plan?
A: An estate plan typically includes a will, a trust, and powers of attorney for healthcare and finances.

Q: How often should I review my estate plan?
A: We recommend that you review your estate plan every three to five years or whenever a significant life event, such as a marriage, divorce, birth, or death in the family.

Q: Can I create my own estate plan?
A: While creating an estate plan without an attorney is possible, it’s not advisable. Estate planning can be complex, and a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you navigate the various options and strategies to ensure your plan is effective and compliant with the law.

McCarthy & Akers – Your Winchester Estate Planning Attorneys

If you’re seeking an experienced and trustworthy estate planning attorney in the Winchester area, you may have searched online for “estate planning attorneys near me.” Look no further, as the team at McCarthy & Akers is here to assist you. Our firm has represented over 16,000 clients across Virginia and West Virginia, and we have proudly delivered service to our clients for over 20 years.

Our team of legal professionals is dedicated to providing personalized attention and comprehensive services to help you achieve your estate planning goals. Let us help you take the first step toward securing your family’s future.

To schedule your consultation, contact us at one of our offices in Strasburg, Front Royal, Winchester, and Manassas at (540) 722-2181. You can fill out our online form if more convenient. Let us go to work for you!

Additionally, we provide a complimentary guide titled “3 Most Common Threats to Your Estate and Family’s Future.” To obtain your copy, please visit this link to download it.

Copyright © 2023. McCarthy & Akers, PLC. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

McCarthy & Akers, PLC
302 W Boscawen St.
Winchester, VA 22601
(540) 722-2181

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