Hiring an estate planning attorney is an important first step for anyone who wants to have a plan to account for all of life’s what-ifs. But knowing which questions to ask can be overwhelming, especially when you’re new to the process and unsure what the next steps are. The good news is that having an advocate in your corner is extremely empower-ing, and the right attorney will be more than happy to answer whatever questions you have for them.
Here are a few questions to ask an estate planning attorney before hiring them:
Do you do more than estate planning?
You have options when it comes to finding estate planning attorneys to hire. But not every firm focuses solely on this area of law. They may also handle family law, civil litigation, and other important matters. Furthermore, estate planning may be a small percentage of their total caseload. Granted, this doesn’t mean they don’t have the experience neces-sary to help you, but there is something to be said for an attorney who focuses all of their attention on estate planning.
How do you charge?
Some estate planning attorneys bill by the hour, while others do a flat fee for their services or a combination of both. Knowing your costs helps you decide whether to hire a particular estate planning attorney. It’s also wise to ask what those fees include. Will it cost more for additional services beyond drafting a Will or Trust? Does pricing change de-pending on the documents requested? Your estate planning attorney will happily break these costs down for you.
Do you also help with probate?
Estate planning is the legal act of putting your affairs in order to ensure your wishes are carried out, family is protected, and wealth, wisdom, and assets are passed on as efficiently as possible after you die or become incapacitated. Probate is the legal process that comes after a person has passed away and involves administering an estate and legally transferring a deceased person’s assets and property to their family members or beneficiaries. If the attorney you’re talking to doesn’t handle estate planning and probate, you should consider finding someone who does.
Which estate planning document is right for me?
The best estate planning attorney to hire is someone who isn’t married to one particular document as a catch-all for everyone’s estate planning needs. Collectively, Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Burial Directives, and more give you and your family the best chance of having every base covered. The estate planning attorney you hire will want to un-derstand your situation and every aspect of your family dynamic to identify which documents will put you in the best position.
What if I need to change something later?
This is a big one, as it’s important to make amendments to your estate planning documents every two or three years. After all, life happens, and circumstances change. Your attorney should be prepared to help you throughout your journey.
What do you need from me?
Communication is a two-way street. Just as you expect the attorney you plan to hire to answer all your questions, you need to be prepared to share as much about you, your spouse, children, family, assets, etc., so that the attorney can help you with all your estate planning goals. Asking what they might need in advance sets clear expectations as you move forward with working together.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of questions to ask an estate planning attorney before hiring them, but it’s a really good start. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Caitlyn Ashley Law.
Call Caitlyn Ashley Law today!!
Having a plan for the future is the most important gift you can give yourself and your family. Granted, none of us will ever know for sure what is around every corner in life. And just thinking about the what-ifs — what if I were to die or become incapacitated tomorrow; what if my child with special needs has no one to care for her; what if all my “stuff” isn’t passed onto the right people — can be overwhelming. But having a plan that accounts for your family’s unique circumstances, puts your affairs in order, has concrete solutions to your concerns, lays out your wishes and goals, and protects your family’s future provides peace of mind for the road ahead.
Caitlyn Ashley Law in Denton, Texas, will counsel you on which documents are best suited for your needs and ensure they are flexible enough to meet your changing needs for years to come.