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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / Asking the right questions helps ensure the right fit

Asking the right questions helps ensure the right fit

thumb_alternateAfter an estate lawyer is selected, the client’s responsibilities are far from ended.

The website willsabout.com offers suggestions for the kinds of questions that people must ask prospective attorneys before sealing the deal. These are designed to make certain the relationship is going to be a good fit and that the legal professional has the right expertise to be of proper assistance.

These recommended questions (http://wills.about.com/od/youandyourattorney/a/interviewatty.htm) include:

Is the attorney’s primary focus on estate planning?

“This question may or may not be important to you from the standpoint that if all you need is a simple will, power of attorney and health care documents, then a seasoned and sophisticated attorney may not be right for you. An attorney whose practice is broad but includes simple estate planning and probate matters will work just fine in this situation. On the other hand, if you have a complicated family or financial situation or a taxable estate, then you’ll need to work with someone whose primary focus is on estate planning and estate tax reduction.”

How many years of experience does the attorney have?

“The more years of experience the attorney has, whether the attorney is a generalist or primarily focuses on estate planning, the more the attorney will have had the opportunity to see their essential estate planning documents in action when a client becomes disabled or dies.”

Does the attorney assist clients with properly funding their assets into a revocable living trust?

“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. 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 the attorney have a formal updating and maintenance program?

“Many estate planning attorneys view their work as a one-time transaction; they simply draft the documents requested by their clients and then send them on their way. On the other hand, there are many estate planning attorneys who, for typically a nominal fee, will contact all of their clients on an annual or semi-annual basis to inform them of changes in the law, explain new estate planning techniques, ask about life changes that will require modifications in the client’s documents, and to check up on the progress of the client’s funding.”

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.”

“Ask yourself, ‘Can I see myself working closely with this attorney?’”

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