Some put off estate planning, perhaps because they don’t want to contemplate their mortality. Others think of it as something that can always wait until later, while some people enjoy the process of “giving it all away” or constructing their lasting legacy.
Regardless of where you land on the comfort spectrum, many important decisions need to be made. Pressing issues may include guardianship of minors, adults, and spouses who are unable to care for themselves. There may include unique assets like a family business or vacation home, or steps are needed to avoid wasting money when passing along these assets. Estate law attorneys can help with these foreseeable questions and also raise others to address when drafting a plan involving a will or trust.
Questions for the initial consultation with an estate planning lawyer
The needs of each family or individual are different, but there are some general questions to ask early in the process. These can also help identify the right attorney for the job.
What services do you offer?
Attorneys have individual skillsets, so it is critical to ensure that the attorney can do what the client wants, such as drafting a special needs trust, guiding survivors through the probate process, or offering innovative strategies for asset protection.
What am I missing?
The attorney’s job is to execute the wishes of their client. They can also provide helpful guidance on matters not previously considered, such as drafting healthcare directives, powers of attorney or creating a living trust.
Can you construct a comprehensive plan for me?
Estates often involve a mix of real property, retirement accounts, insurance policies, bank accounts, and other things. A comprehensive plan considers all the above as well as other matters specific to the client.
Can you execute the plan?
Attorneys can provide invaluable assistance to grieving survivors by settling the estate and addressing all legal matters, which can be stressful and time-consuming.
What is your fee?
Some attorneys charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour. Some do a combination of both.
Picking the right attorney
It is recommended that any consumer shop around before making an important decision. Asking the same questions to a few different attorneys during the initial consultation can give clients peace of mind knowing that they picked the right attorney for moving forward with their estate plan.