Many people will hit roadblocks during their estate planning simply because they are unsure which options would benefit them most. Estate plans are often left unfinished, leading to guardianship issues, unnecessary probate proceedings, disinheritance, high taxes, and other sources of contention and confusion within the family. With so much at stake, asking an attorney to evaluate your estate plan is a relatively easy way to prevent devastation down the road—but it’s important to choose the right attorney for your family.
3 Tips for Choosing Your Ideal Estate Planning Attorney
The choices you make throughout the estate planning process can affect your family for decades, so it is important to think critically as you make these decisions. Because estate plans often involve complex financial, legal, and tax implications, it is vital that you have all the information you need before making your final decisions.
When choosing an estate plan attorney, you should consider:
- Areas of practice. Estate planning is very different from other areas of law, and your attorney should have a demonstrated track record helping clients in this domain. Experience in estate planning is a must, but he should also have experience in related fields such as probate law, family law, accounting, divorce, and business disputes.
- Attention to your needs. A comprehensive plan will typically include a last will and testament, financial and healthcare powers of attorney, guardianship designations, and a detailed list of assets and beneficiaries. However, each part of an estate plan can (and should) be customized to the specific needs of each client. If you desire a revocable or irrevocable trust, you attorney should help you create and fund each trust, so assets can pass to beneficiaries without probate. Your lawyer should have a clear understanding of what you want in order to create the best plan for you.
- Dedication to clients. It is not enough for your lawyer to understand how your estate plan works; he must also be able to explain the terms and limitations of your plan to you and your beneficiaries. Your attorney should take the time to walk you through complex matters, ensure that you fully understand each of the documents you sign, and offer a regular “check in” every few years to update your existing plan.
If you need help creating your estate plan, the probate lawyers at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum can provide knowledgeable guidance. Call us today, or fill out our online contact form to get started.