As you age, it is crucial to have a solid estate plan in place so that you can be assured that your possessions and loved ones will be taken care of. This requires drafting a substantial amount of legal documentation, which is why engaging an estate planning attorney may be very advantageous.
These attorneys specialise in several aspects of estate preparation, including federal and state issues pertaining to wills, taxes, trusts, and powers of attorney. Additionally, you may require estate planning lawyers if your will is likely to be contested or if your estate is complex. However, if your estate is substantial, you will need to employ estate planning lawyers to help you manage your assets, investments, and money.
Finding estate planning lawyers may appear to be a big endeavour, but breaking down the process into smaller phases can be helpful.
Here are some suggestions for finding an attorney for estate planning:
- Referrals from family and friends
- Local probate courts
- Referrals from financial advisors or accountants
Ensure you seek a lawyer who specialises in estate law. This may sound obvious, but if you engage with an expert in a different industry, even if they also handle estates, the estate plan may not fulfil all of your needs.
To practice law in your region, all attorneys must pass the bar test, and the state bar organisation will contain a list of all licensed attorneys. Check the websites of your local, county, and state bar associations to get started.
As estate planning is a personal endeavour, you must interview all the candidates. You will divulge intimate facts about your finances and plans for your demise. A great attorney-client connection will make everything much simpler.
Questions to ask a prospective attorney for estate planning:
- How many years have you practised?
- Where did you receive legal training?
- How will we establish communication?
- Can you be personally contacted, or will someone else be the point of contact?
- Will you provide ongoing updates regarding my estate plan, or is this a one-time service?
- How will you charge (hourly versus flat rate), and what is the rate?
- Are there any other fees not included?
If you are working with a major legal firm’s estate lawyer, you must know if you will work exclusively with one person. An assistant or paralegal will likely serve as the primary point of contact, while the actual estate attorney will be more difficult to reach.
Recheck the costs of the remaining estate attorneys on your list to determine who you can afford. Make sure you understand all of the charges that will be incurred.
Estate planning lawyers typically charge a set fee for their services, but they can also be hired on an hourly basis to help you manage your estate, argue on your behalf in case of a disagreement, and ensure that your wishes are carried out as you intend them to be when the time comes. Somebody with power of attorney over the estate of a recently deceased individual can also turn to an estate planning attorney for guidance during the probate court procedure. The form of investment in the deceased’s estate and how they can be transferred may determine whether or not you have to go through the process of probate.