Cars. Houses. Businesses. You’ll be the owner of many valuable assets throughout your life. Have you ever thought what would happen if something changed?
Whether its divorce, personal injury, family disputes or death, a thorough estate plan allows you to ensure everything goes into the right hands. It’s peace of mind for yourself and everyone important to you so they understand their rights and duties.
Estate plans are one of the most important documents in your life. The lawyer needs to understand your entire situation, adapt to legal requirements and fit within your budget so that the estate plan is airtight. A tough task. Where do you even start?
Luckily, LawPath have compiled 5 questions that we recommend to ask when hiring an estate planning lawyer. You can keep these questions in mind when accessing LawPath’s lawyer directory to find your estate planning lawyer.
1. What information will you need from me?
Estate plans are very personalised and a complex area of law. An estate plan is often seen as a will to distribute your assets on death, but in reality will be much more than that. Here’s some examples of what an estate plan can include:
- Power of Attorney;
- Living will;
- Future investment plans;
- Retirement plan; and
- Life contingencies.
You would want a lawyer who knows what information they are looking for, and how to use it. You may find that you require a lot more, or less, than you initially thought.
2. How much experience do you have creating estate plans?
Once you have an idea of what is required, you want the right lawyer who has experience in doing what you need. It’s crucial to have a lawyer who understands your personal situation, and can tailor their advice accordingly so your best interests are kept at heart.
On the other hand, you may not need or want an extensive estate plan and are only looking for a will. In that situation, you might find yourself more comfortable with a less experienced lawyer to handle your matters.
3. What are your costs?
Legal fees are notorious for being expensive. The more you pay for your estate plan, the less you can distribute to those you love. However, you also want to balance costs and tieing up all loose ends with your estate.
There are two common methods of payment.
Billable hours are when the lawyer charges for every hour spent on your issue. You should try and get an idea of how many hours the lawyer expects to take. Keep in mind that even a short five minute conversation can add much more than that into your final charge.
A flat fee can provide a better idea of what you’re paying. The flat fee, however, may not cover all legal costs such as filing or updates to your plans in the future.
You can connect with an estate planning lawyer using LawPath’s lawyer directory. You can also learn more about how lawyers charge clients by reading our legal guide on how much you should pay a lawyer.
4. Can I review your plan before you finalise it?
If you require a comprehensive estate plan, you may find the legal arrangements confusing to understand. Allowing a review of the plan gives you another opportunity to ensure that the legal effect matches with your intentions.
5. How will I be able to update my estate plan?
Your estate plan is a reflection of your personal circumstances when you made it, and you may have thoughts on how you will make updates. Perhaps the law changes in the future, and there’s a better way to distribute your assets to meet your goals.
These are significant documents and it is important to set expectations for how, and when you would like to be in touch with your lawyer to update your estate plan. There’s no point hiring a lawyer who is unavailable when you need their advice, or is unwilling to keep you up to date with estate planning laws if you request it.
An estate plan is an incredibly personal set of legal documents that require the right lawyer for you. Ultimately, the right estate planning lawyer gives you and your closest people peace of mind. These questions can help find you the perfect lawyer on LawPath’s lawyer directory to ensure that your assets are used in your best interest.
Require an estate planning lawyer? Use LawPath’s lawyer directory to obtain a fixed-fee quote from our network of 750+ expert lawyers and get answers to your legal questions.