Questions To Ask Before Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Questions To Ask Before Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is the act of managing, disposing, or allotting assets while the person is alive in preparation for their death or incapacitation. Many people find this process uncomfortable, as it involves discussing what they want to happen with their possessions after they pass. Despite the uncomfortable feelings, it is an incredibly important legal process that you’ll need a professional to help guide you through. Read on to learn a few questions you should ask before hiring an estate planning attorney so that you can find the right representation for you.

What Are Your Flat Fees?
All estate plans are unique to the individual, and that means the overall price will vary. However, it’s still wise to ask what their fees look like or what their pricing range is to help you avoid unseen fees further down the line. If they’re unwilling to share their prices, consider looking elsewhere, as any business should be as transparent about costs as possible.

What Is an Estate Plan?
Every estate plan will contain different documents depending on what your needs are and what your assets consist of. Every estate plan needs to include a few essential documents, such as a last will and testament, durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, and a living will. However, if you have individuals who are minors or disabled or have valuable items such as land or a business, your attorney will need to build the plan differently.

Do You Perform Periodic Reviews?
You will need to update and review your estate plans as life changes occur, such as marriage, divorce, accidents, or the acquisition of new assets. Typically, estate planning attorneys will conduct periodic reviews throughout the year. Additionally, laws and tax adjustments may change, which can have unintended financial effects that you will need to be aware of.

Do You Handle Probate?
Arguably, the most important question you should ask before hiring an estate planning attorney is whether or not they handle the probate process along with drafting the estate plan. Probate is the legal process with which the distribution of assets occurs, but it can be a slow, costly process that many want to avoid.
An estate planning lawyer that also handles the probate process can help you ensure this process goes as smoothly as possible, as well as inform you on the process and procedures of probate. If they do not handle this process, you may want to find another attorney that does so that you do not have to seek a separate probate attorney later.

Will You Execute the Plan?
One of the benefits of hiring an estate planning attorney is that they help ensure people comply with and obey what the plan spells out. But not every state planning attorney will execute the plan you’ve discussed, as many estate planning attorneys merely draft the plan instead of enacting it. It’s much easier for the person who knows the plan most intimately to enact it.

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