Estate planning is something that we all know we need to do, but simple procrastination along with a lack of knowledge prevent so many people from taking the step of making an appointment with an estate planning attorney. Many people do not want to face the difficult questions regarding death, taxes, and disability and want to avoid discussing these things with an attorney.
So where do you start? Well, once you have made the decision to stop procrastinating, you now need to pick the right attorney and the right firm. Some law firms offer free seminars which are a great tool to get an educational base of common estate planning tools, techniques, and pitfalls. Now that you have stopped procrastinating, you have attended your educational seminar, now is the time to choose if you will work with a certain attorney or not. So what do you look for?
First and foremost you want someone who serves as an advisor. It is not the attorney’s job to “sell” you anything. It is the attorney’s job to advise you on what is the best estate planning tool or tools for you to accomplish your goals in the most cost effective manner. Therefore an important component of your consultation with your attorney will be telling your attorney about your goals and concerns for your family so that they can advise you on the best course of action.
Second, you want someone who is knowledgeable about state and federal laws regarding taxes, probate, trust administration, real estate, debtor-creditor, among many other areas of the law. Estate planning can be a maze of legal issues and your attorney can guide you through that maze.
Third, are you comfortable with your attorney? Your attorney is going to ask some very personal questions about family, assets, death, and disability. IF you do not feel comfortable telling your attorney about these things then you will not be able to portray your goals and concerns to your attorney thereby not allowing you to put together the best plan for your and your family.
You can feel free to ask the attorney questions before you decide to hire them. Some things to consider are
- What percentage of your practice is estate planning?
- How many attorneys in your firm practice estate planning?
- Do you have any continuing education requirements?
- Do you offer support to the family?
- What is most important when advising a family about their options?
Now that you know how to choose an estate planning attorney, stop procrastinating, attend an educational seminar, and make an appointment with an estate planning attorney today so that you can feel confident that you have done everything you need to do to protect yourself, your spouse, and your family in the event of both disability and death.
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