Though it’s a hard subject to broach, the issue of estate planning is one that you should approach sooner rather than later. To avoid the messy legal battles involving families when no firm succession plan has been established, hiring an estate planning attorney can help you create a will, establish a durable power of attorney, designate beneficiaries, and keep you out of probate court.
An estate planning attorney usually charges a flat fee to help you put together necessary succession documents. Or, you can hire one who you pay hourly to help you maintain your estate and represent you when you need to handle disputes. To know whether the attorney you’re working with is fit to handle these life-altering affairs, there are a few necessary questions you need to ask your legal representative before you start.
What Are the Questions You Should Be Asking?
The first question you should ask an estate planning attorney before deciding whether to hire them is basic. Do you specialize in estate planning? While some attorneys who cover various cases will know about estate planning, having a specialist who knows the full extent of estate planning laws is a major plus. That specialist will have more knowledge about the terminology and documentation involved, ensuring you get everything you need. Plus, the specialist will have a better understanding of how to handle complex family and financial situations.
Another important question to ask the attorney is if they are familiar with local and state laws regarding inheritance, wills, and trusts. That sort of knowledge ensures you’re getting every benefit afforded to you, whether financial or otherwise. Knowledge of those laws ensures your estate is valued, taxed, and dispersed properly according to them.
It’s also helpful to know whether the estate planning attorney draws up paperwork or actually executes the estate plan. And, you should ask if the attorney can handle every aspect of your estate planning. If the attorney can’t, then the representative isn’t necessarily a specialist or doesn’t have the jurisdiction to.