5 Questions To Ask An Estate Planning Lawyer


If you want help drafting a living will or a trust, what questions should you ask him or her to ensure a good fit? It's a good idea to have an estate plan, because it will ensure that your wishes are fulfilled after you're gone. Below you will find five questions to ask an attorney during the interview process:

What is your fee schedule? For many clients, the most important question to ask an estate lawyer is what their fees are. Depending on the services you need, there are a variety of plans an attorney can offer. For example, if you only need help drafting a prenuptial agreement or a living will, the attorney may charge by the hour.

What do I need to bring to the first consultation? For the lawyer to understand what you need, you might want to put together a document with information such as your family size, your marital status, and an inventory of your individual and community assets. This will tell your lawyer how to represent you properly, and it can save money and time.

In which states are you licensed to practice? If some of your assets are in another state, you should ask your attorney where he or she is licensed to practice. For a lawyer to do business in other states, he or she must hold a license from that state's bar association.

My estate is complex. Will you be able to handle any issues that arise? While some think that estate planners only write wills, many attorneys also handle trusts, tax law and probate cases. These issues are all related to a client's estate, and if a lawyer cannot answer all of your questions, he or she should be able to refer you to someone who can.

Do I need to update my will as my life circumstances change? If you've already drafted a will, but your circumstances have changed due to marriage, divorce or entrepreneurship, you should consider updating your will. Local estate planning attorneys can tell you whether you should update your will, and because each state's laws are different, they can tell you the best way to handle the updates.

When planning an estate, it's vital to hire a lawyer who understands what you need. During the interview process, asking lawyers the five questions listed above can help you determine whether a particular attorney is a good fit for you and your case. Contact a company such as Hamilton Michaelson & Hilty LLP to learn more.


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