We don’t like to think about it, yet estate preparation is important. Generally speaking, it compels people to think about money both during and beyond their lifetimes. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that assets are handled carefully and that heirs to the estate will receive their share without any complications.
Simple cases, such as naming the beneficiary of a 401(k), can be handled by any lawyer, but more complex situations involving many trusts and numerous heirs should be handled by an experienced trust-and-estate lawyer.
You should make sure your loved ones may easily and quickly inherit your wealth after your death by creating a comprehensive estate plan.
You should ask potential estate planners a number of things before choosing them to create your estate plan.
Make sure you choose a lawyer who provides personalized attention and with whom you feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues.
There are several things to think about while creating an estate plan.
- Keeping your financial affairs in order while you’re still alive
- Adaptable administration of estate assets during life
- Assessing Wills in Which Joint Ownership or Community Property Exists
- Think About Assets in Different States
- Assessment of Company Resources
- Appointing a legal guardian
- Giving your loved ones and heirs what they deserve
- Facilitating the resolution or avoidance of disputes and ambiguity
- Conserving Financial Resources by Reducing Taxes and Legal Fees
- Reviewing Strategies for Financial Security
It is recommended that you begin your search for the finest attorney for your requirements by reading through the following themes and questions.
Helpful Hints for Estate Organizing
Questions to Ask a Prospective Estate Planning Attorney
Here are some questions to ask a potential estate-planning attorney that can help you understand more about estate planning and make an informed decision.
Do you concentrate mostly on making arrangements for your afterlife?
Only move forward with a candidate who answers this question positively. An expert in estate planning will know how to best write your paperwork and will be up-to-date on any changes to the law.
Finding a good estate planning lawyer may be a difficult and time-consuming procedure. You could even decide to deal with your will and estate plan the day after tomorrow. On the other hand, we are here to strongly recommend that you do not allow it to take place. When planning for the future, don’t overlook the need of establishing an estate plan. It is very important to the future of your family, which is why it is also very important to you.
Since When Did You Start Practicing?
It goes without saying that you need to choose the best lawyer you can find, preferably one who has witnessed the implementation of their client’s estate plan following their passing. Such lawyers will have experience defending clients in court and/or before the IRS and will be prepared to handle any complications that may arise.
Do You Put the Strategy Into Action?
While some attorneys just draught trusts and wills, others additionally handle the trust’s actual execution. The latter type of attorney is the most cost-effective choice since they can efficiently verify that just the desired assets are being placed into the trust.
Do You Perform Regular Audits?
Some legal firms that specialize in estate planning may provide annual or semi-annual reviews of your situation for a nominal cost. When life or financial circumstances change, it may be essential to make revisions to your plan. Any changes you make to your estate plan may need to account for the possibility of future alterations to the law.
Your Knowledge of Estate Taxes? Can you advise me on the best way to handle estate taxes?
Such as: Until 2025, the estate tax and generation-skipping tax exemptions were increased by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
- Can I rely on you to assist me in developing a full-fledged estate plan, including wills, trusts, and life insurance?
An extensive estate plan might incorporate all of your wills, trusts, and life insurance policies. Having an estate lawyer who is well-versed in these topics is crucial. Consult an estate planning attorney if you need assistance understanding the differences between the various estate planning tools or determining which one is best for your situation.
What are your rates?
Many lawyers that specialize in estate planning provide their services for a fixed rate. There are others that provide both flat rates for routine services like trust creation and hourly rates for more in-depth research projects. Anyhow, it’s better to ask about compensation structures in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Are you OK with the idea of a living trust that you may change at any time?
Probate is an expensive and time-consuming procedure that can be avoided by transferring property to a revocable living trust (filing a will with the court). Revocable living trusts are an option, but they aren’t the best for everyone because they don’t eliminate the need to pay gifts, estate, or income taxes.
2. Unfortunately, some attorneys advocate for such arrangements just to increase their billable hours.
Is There Anything Else You Deal With?
Long-term physical and mental health problems become more likely as life expectancy rises. Powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and living wills are all tools that an estate attorney may use to help their clients plan financially for the likelihood of infirmity or dementia.
How long do you anticipate finishing my estate planning project?
While there’s usually no need to hurry into anything, it’s important to remember that you may want to consult with other specialists, like an accountant, retirement planner, or financial manager, on various parts of your estate plan. There may be some overlap between the areas of competence of an estate attorney and a general tax expert or real estate investment adviser. Allow yourself ample time to have a bird’s-eye view of your estate strategy and the realities of putting it into action.
Will You Provide Me with Estate Planning Materials to Examine?
If you’re dealing with a seasoned estate planning attorney, you should still double-check every piece of paperwork to avoid misunderstandings. Differentiate what can be altered in the future and what cannot.
Can I talk to someone else in your office about my concerns when you’re out of the office?
While most estate planners are accessible during normal business hours, it’s still good to know that if your lawyer is out of the office, a staff member can help you out.
Typically, does your company serve as its own trustee and executor?
In addition to other problems, answering yes to this question might indicate a conflict of interest. Another possible spinoff inquiry is whether or if your company has an asset-management arm. This inquiry also merits a negative response.
Please Answer These Questions
You should ask yourself the following questions:
- How confident are you in meeting with a possible estate planning lawyer?
- Is there a lack of ambiguity in your advisor’s explanations?
- Would you say that your values align with theirs? How do you feel about their bedside manner?
- Can you say that you get along well with one another?
- Is this someone you’d feel comfortable talking to regarding very private matters?
Feel free to go with your gut while trying to choose an estate planning attorney. Because of the emotional and legal complexities involved, it is crucial to hire an attorney who is well-versed in estate preparation.