Questions to Ask an Estate Lawyer
Estate planning is a very important responsibility. Therefore, if you are at the juncture in your life at which you are undertaking estate planning, you need to engage the services of a qualified and experienced attorney.
There are lawyers who specialize exclusively in estate planning and representation. In preparing to engage such legal counsel, you will want to have a basic understanding of the types of questions that you should ask of an estate lawyer.
Estate Planning Options
The most fundamental series of questions that you will want to ask your estate lawyer involves determining what options are available to you. In estate planning, options include a relatively simple last will and testament or a considerably more complicated family trust.
Your circumstances dictate what course makes the most sense for you. Questioning your attorney will help you focus on the options that will serve your interests and those of your heirs most appropriately.
At the foundation of any estate plan is the distribution of your assets or property to those individuals you desire and the minimizing of taxes on your estate. Therefore, when it comes to developing a checklist of questions to ask your estate lawyer, you will want to include tax issues.
Ask your lawyer to provide you side-by-side comparisons of various plans with regard to tax consequences.
Selecting an Executor or Trustee
If you are interested in writing a will or setting up a trust, question your estate lawyer about how to select an executor for your will or a trustee for your estate. The executor or trustee will be the person primarily responsible for seeing that your wishes are carried out in relation to your will or trust.
Your estate lawyer will be able to advise you on what to look for in an executor or trustee; she also will be able to assist you in actually selecting a person best suited to serving your needs.
Future Changes to Estate Plan
Also ask your lawyer what changes you can make to your estate plan in the future and how you can make those changes.
Since your circumstances can change over time, you will want to know how to adjust you will, trust, or other estate plan to future developments.
If you are like most people, you want to get effective legal help with your estate planning. However, you also want to be certain that you get the most for your money in this regard. Consequently, you must ask your estate lawyer direct questions about what fees she will charge you for her services.
You should also ask about possible expenses associated with the future work by any executor or trustee that you appoint to carry out your wishes.
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