NOTE: we will be opening up this section to professionals in the region over the next several months – when we have suggestions from users and/or providers over that period – we will include them here.
Tips for Finding an Attorney
- Look for an attorney licensed in your state who practices in the estate planning area or has worked with long-term leases.
- Look for an attorney who is also familiar with sustainable agriculture—someone who frequently represents farmers.
- In a best-case scenario, your attorney will: (1) have experience with estate planning and/or long-term leases; (2) regularly represent farmers; and (3) be familiar with sustainable farming practices. At the very least, however, your attorney should either have estate planning/lease law experience or regularly represent sustainable farmers. For estate planning attorneys, there is ACTEC (America College of Trusts and Estates Counsel) certification. It’s members have to be nominated by their peers and have practiced in the area of estate planning for ten years.
- Look for an attorney who has experience or certifications for Elder Law if you will be needing assistance with medical planning or long term care for example Some things to look for: (1) National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), although, anyone can be a member. There is also CAP, which is Counsel of Advanced Practitioners (for Elder Law and Special Needs Law).
- Hire an attorney you feel comfortable with, and do not hesitate to shop around to find the best fit and value. An experienced attorney familiar with agriculture will likely spend fewer hours on your case (and thus, cost less) than an attorney without estate planning, lease, or agriculture experience.
- You can also ask about negotiating a flat rate or hours cap for the attorney’s services instead of paying an hourly rate. Flat fees or hours caps can lower the cost of both experienced and less-experienced attorneys.
- If your attorney is not responsive to your needs, frequently fails to return calls, or makes you feel uncomfortable, find a different attorney. You can fire an attorney at any time.
Tips provided by Fare Grange Law, adapted from FLAG’s “Farmers’ Guide to Organic Contracts”.
The following is a list of Attorneys and financial advisors that have contacted the Farm Transitions Network and indicated that they are qualified and able to assist farm families with their transitions needs. The Farm Transition Network makes no claim whatsoever as to their qualifications or expertise – neither do any of the other organizations affiliated with this website. Please consult the above tips to determine if a specific attorney or law office is a good fit for you.
MLT maintains a list of attorneys that we know have experience working with conservation easements that we regularly share with landowners. With this list, we make no specific endorsements of one over the other – landowners often choose one based on proximity to them.