Once you’ve located a prospective estate planning attorney, you’ll need to ask the attorney the following list of questions to determine if they’re truly qualified to help you:
Is the attorney’s primary focus on estate planning?
Unless you live in a very rural area I think you will find that most attorneys have narrowed their practice these days and with good reason, the law is complex. In all areas of practice. Now, that said, while it may be not as critical to be a specialist to prepare a simple Will —I personally think it makes a huge difference in an attorney’s ability to issue spot. If what you do is Estate Planning and Probate you get a unique perspective from both ends of the process that can offer valuable insight.
How many years of experience does the attorney have?
The more years of experience the attorney has the more the attorney will have had the opportunity to see their essential estate planning documents in action when a client becomes disabled or dies. The wills, trusts, powers of attorney and health care documents used by attorneys who have been in business for a while have been revised and tweaked to deal with the everyday situations that their clients encounter. The answers to these questions will give you the peace of mind to know that the documents they prepare for you will work when they’re needed.
Does the attorney adequately assist clients with funding their assets into a revocable living trust?
Many attorneys create beautiful estate plans for their clients but then fail to assist them with the next important step: funding the revocable living trust. A well-drafted trust will be virtually useless immediately after you die if your assets aren’t titled in the name of the trust while you’re still alive. Some firms have full-time funding assistants or even entire funding departments, while others will give you comprehensive written instructions. Others will merely mention the importance of funding but fail to provide you with any guidance whatsoever. I strongly recommend that you work with an attorney who will oversee the funding process and even pay the attorney an extra fee to do so because chances are you won’t complete all of the necessary funding on your own.