Having a solid estate plan in place can help make things easier for your loved ones and protect your interests as well. If you have never considered estate planning before, just thinking about it can be daunting. These questions can help you find estate planning attorneys who are right for you.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
Regardless of the task at hand, finding an experienced lawyer usually makes the process run more smoothly. A seasoned estate planning lawyer will have experience handling all different types of challenges and understand how to help you craft a plan that meets your specific needs.
How Much Of Your Focus Is In Estate Planning?
Make sure to ask how much of a lawyer’s focus is in estate planning, whether they keep up with the latest changes in estate and tax law, what types of estates have they handled, and whether they help with probate and estate administration.
Can You Help Me Create A Comprehensive Estate Plan?
Estate planning involves so much more than simply drafting a will. Powers of attorney are critical documents that can protect your interests while you are still alive, and trusts and life insurance are often important tools for optimizing your heirs’ inheritance. Do not hesitate to ask questions about which estate planning elements an attorney may recommend for your specific circumstances.
Will You Conduct Periodic Reviews?
An annual or semi-annual review of your estate plan is a must. Find out if a lawyer will do these reviews with you and ask for a rough estimate of how much the fee for review will be. It is also important to remember to update your estate plan after important life events such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child.
Will Anyone Else In Your Office Be Able To Assist Me Or Answer Questions?
Although most attorneys strive to make themselves available to their clients, emergencies happen. Knowing who to talk to if your lawyer is not available when an urgent matter arises can help you avoid stress and make things easier for everyone involved.
Can You Help Me With Other Issues?
If you are a business owner, having an attorney who understands business succession planning or collaborates with succession planning lawyers can help to ensure all your bases are covered in the event of your incapacitation or death. Real estate and contract law experience can also be invaluable if you own property or a business and want to incorporate them into your estate plan.
What Are Your Fees?
Depending on the complexity of your estate, an attorney may charge a flat fee instead of an hourly rate. Some do both, charging a flat fee for basics like powers of attorney and an hourly rate for more extensive tasks such as establishing a trust. It is important to find out ahead of time how you will be charged so you do not encounter any surprises down the road.
When it comes down to it, trust your gut. Feeling comfortable and confident about the estate planning attorney you choose can help you get through the process with ease.