Estate planning is not something that many people look forward because it’s associated with mortality, but it’s important to think of the next generation. If you want your assets passed down to them without efficiently and without incident, you’re going to need to make smart decisions. Fortunately, if you hire the right estate planning attorney, you can get valuable input and assistance in making those decisions. On the other hand, if you hire the wrong estate planning attorney, you could end up paying a lot more than necessary — your assets might not go where you intended or in the most efficient manner.
These questions should help you find the right estate planning attorney:
- What is your experience in dealing with trusts and estates? The quality of this answer will depend on your requirements, but you definitely want to hire someone who has been in the business for a minimum of three years.
- Is your primary focus on estate planning? You’re looking for a “yes.”
- Do you practice Probate as well? A “yes” is a bonus as having an attorney that sees how their [and other’s] Estate Planning documents play out post mortem is worth its weight in gold.
- How long will it take you to complete my estate planning project? In most cases, there is no rush. The key is to avoid the probate process.
- Will you send estate planning documentation for me to review? Even if you’re working with the most experienced estate planning attorney in the world, you want to review documentation to make sure everything is set up as you intended. Your attorney may be highly skilled, but there’s always the possibility of miscommunication.
- Do you offer a formal updating and maintenance program? For a small fee, some estate planning attorneys will offer a semi-annual or annual review. This is important because there may be changes to laws and taxes, as well as to your life. In regards to the latter, adjustments to your estate might be necessary.
- Do you assist with Trust funding? In the event a Trust is your recommended course of action, having an attorney who will help make sure all your assets end up in the Trust is VERY important. Unfunded Trusts are virtually worthless.
Every situation is different, but asking a potential estate planning attorney these 7 questions should provide you with a lot of information to help you decide whether he or she is the best option for you, which also would mean the best option for your loved ones.
Heidi S. Webb, Attorney at Law serves clients in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Melbourne and beyond with matters of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Probate Law. Contact her today to schedule a free consultation. Visit her page on Facebook, or see what her clients are saying to learn more about Heidi.