When you need to find an estate planning attorney, the first thought that springs to your mind might be to do an Internet search, talk to attorneys who have done other work for you, or even ask friends for referrals. Who knows — perhaps this basic search might get you what you need. Just make sure to do enough research and choose the right attorney.
Despite how basic it might seem to prepare a will, no one should have “just anybody” draft one for them. Carefully vet any attorney you come across before putting them in charge of something as important as your family and estate.
In fact, ask and have answers to the following questions about your prospective lawyer before that initial consultation:
1. Is the attorney’s primary focus on estate planning?
An attorney whose practice is broad but includes simple estate planning and probate matters might not recognize issues that need to be addressed in your estate plan. Conversely, an attorney who focuses on estate planning will recognize issues and help protect your family and situation.
2. How many years of experience does the attorney have?
The more years of experience they have, the more they will have had the opportunity to see their essential estate planning documents in action when a client becomes disabled or passes away. 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. This gives you peace of mind in that you know the documents they prepare for you will work when they are needed.
3. Does the attorney assist clients with properly 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 are not titled in the name of the trust while you are still alive. A good firm will provide you with comprehensive written instructions, while others will merely mention the importance of funding but will not give you any guidance.
4. Does the attorney charge a fixed price or hourly rate for providing estate planning and other services?
You do not want to be surprised by hidden fees and costs. It is better to work with an attorney who charges a fixed price. This gives you peace of mind knowing that the fixed price is all that you will be required to pay.
5. Ask yourself: “Can I see myself working closely with this attorney?”
Even if the prospective attorney answers all of your questions to your satisfaction, this is the most important question that you need to ask yourself. If you are not comfortable with the attorney, then chances are you will not be happy with the attorney’s work. It is better to determine this sooner rather than later. Simply move on until you find an attorney you feel comfortable enough with to trust with your family’s well-being.
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today!!
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC, and we will help walk you through all of your estate planning needs. We have ample experience and will take into consideration your particular situation. Proper planning of an estate, whether through a will, trust, or both, helps ensure your wishes are carried out.