Considerations When Selecting an Estate Planning Attorney
If something tragic were to happen to you tomorrow, do you have any idea what would happen to your assets and property? Would you children, grandchildren, or other would-be heirs appropriately receive the inheritance you intend for them? If you are not sure about the answer to questions to like these, chances are, you do not have a comprehensive estate plan. In my practice as an estate planning attorney, I have helped hundreds of clients draft wills, create trusts, and implement other planning tools necessary in preparing for the future. Having a qualified professional at your side as you develop your estate is critical and it is extremely important to choose the right person or firm.
Five Important Questions to Ask
Just as with selecting any other type of lawyer or expert consultant, you will need to be thorough in your advance research. Simply picking a name from a list could end up costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses and still not give you the results you deserve. As you gather information, here are a few things to ask of an estate planning attorney before you make your decision:
- How Much Experience? One of the most important things to know about your prospective attorney is how long he or she has been handling estate planning matters. While a newer, more inexperienced attorney may seem energetic and willing to work hard, there is no substitute for experience with real clients and real-life situations.
- Are You Accessible? While you will be able be able discuss many aspects of your estate plan over the phone, in-person and video-conferencing sessions are important. You should be able to meet face-to-face as you work through the process.
- What Planning Tools Do You Recommend and Handle? This is more of a comparison question. Based on your unique circumstances, find out how the attorney would handle your case. If one lawyer suggests a living trust, for example, while another advises against a living trust, find out why. Are the recommendations grounded in fact or are they just efforts to upsell? Also be sure the firm you choose is equipped to assist you with what you may already have in mind.
- What Can I Expect to Pay? There are few guarantees in the legal world, as unexpected complications can arise at any time. But, your attorney should be able to offer you a reasonable estimate of the costs associated with your estate plan. These, obviously, will depend on the complexity of your circumstances and the planning tools you choose, but you should have a good idea in advance of what you will be expected to pay.
- What About Ongoing Assistance? Your estate plan will probably need to be reviewed periodically, and, especially if there are applicable changes to the law. How will your attorney handle reviews or updates to your plan as needed? Will he or she notify you when a revision might be required or will it be up to you to make the call?
Trust Your Instinct
Even if a particular lawyer is telling you all the “right” things, if you are not comfortable with him or her, you should probably consider someone else. You are looking for a professional to trust with the security of your hard-earned assets and property. When you step into your attorney’s office, you need to feel like you are completely in the right place.
We Are Here to Help
At The Gierach Law Firm, we welcome your questions and look forward to the opportunity to show you what we have to offer. Contact our experienced Naperville estate planning attorneys today to schedule a consultation. Call 630-756-1160 for an appointment. We have been serving the estate planning needs of clients throughout the area for more than 30 years and we look forward to helping you achieve the peace of mind you deserve.