Finding an Estate Planning attorney is similar to hiring someone. First and foremost, you should interview them. You pay them for their services and they put their best foot forward for your needs and take care of what should be done. So what should you ask?
- Is the attorney's primary focus on estate planning?
You may think this question may or may not be important to you if all you need is a simple will, power of attorney and health care documents. However, A seasoned and sophisticated attorney is someone who can give you the best directive for your future planning. It’s the same reason you don’t go to a neurologist for a heart problem. The same is true with attorneys. You want an expert.
- Does the attorney have a formal updating and maintenance program?
any estate planning attorneys view this type of work as a single transaction. They simply draft the documents requested by their clients and then send them on their way.
An estate plan is something that is meant to grow and mature with you. . Life events and new laws are always occurring, your future plan needs to change with them. Our firm gives you the option of a yearly or bi-yearly update, if needed, for a nominal fee.
Does the attorney charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for providing estate planning services?
This is an important question to ask so that you won't be surprised by hidden fees and costs. At Certus Law, we believe in full disclosure. We have fixed costs depending on your needs and have no hidden fees. See our packages here.
Does the attorney assist clients with properly funding their assets into a revocable living trust?You should work with an attorney who will oversee the funding process and even pay the attorney an extra fee to do so, because 99% of the time, you won't complete all of the necessary funding on your own.
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. This gets a little complicated but generally, a well-drafted trust will be virtually useless immediately after you die if your assets aren't titled in the name of the trust while you're still alive.
Does my attorney have passion for creating and building estate plans?
For any professional, it’s important to be in tune with their industry. The same is especially true for estate planning attorneys. The attorney you choose should have a passion for their craft. After all, this is your future you are trusting them with. They will also be more versed in the ever-changing laws in regards to estate planning.
- Will this attorney work for me?
Once your prospective attorney has answered questions 1-5 to your satisfaction, there's still one big question you need to ask yourself: "Can I see myself working closely with this person?" This is a relationship after all. One where you must be honesty and personal information are involved. If you don’t gel with each other, it’s better to find out early before valuable time and money is spent.