Creating an estate plan is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones. Thus, it is critical that you work with a seasoned and knowledgeable estate planning attorney. Below are a few questions you should consider asking lawyers you are considering hiring:
What percentage of the lawyer’s practice is estate planning?
Estate planning is a complex area of the law, so it is essential to work with a lawyer who focuses on estate planning, estate tax reduction, and stays current on the applicable laws. An attorney who merely dabbles in estate planning will not be prepared to handle complicated and family and financial issues. You want to work with a professional who has handled situations similar to yours and who can help you accomplish your estate planning goals. Ask the question, how many trusts, wills or estate planning clients have you met with this week or this month. The answer will be very important to you. If an attorney isn’t meeting with multiple clients each week on estate planning matters, you should consider someone else who is.
Will the lawyer provide assistance after the documents are drafted?
It is important to have an attorney who will properly draft your estate plan and provide assistance with the practical side of it too. For example, your trust document will only benefit you if it is properly funded. A good estate planning lawyer will provide you guidance and detailed written instructions on how to properly title your assets in the name of the trust.
How will you be billed for the lawyer’s services?
Before you retain an attorney, you should understand whether you will be charged a fixed fee for the majority of the services or if the law firm uses an hourly rate. If you agree to a flat fee, you should understand what services are and are not included in the fee. You should also understand how you will be charged for services that are not included in the fixed fee.
The above are just a few examples of questions you should cover with a lawyer before you hire him or her to create your estate plan. One of the most important questions, however, is one you must ask yourself. That is, do you trust and feel comfortable with the attorney? It is important to work with an estate planning lawyer that you not only trust is sufficiently knowledgeable and skilled to assist you, but also one that you can comfortably discuss some of your most personal and private information with.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.