Hiring a lawyer for estate planning or setting up a conservatorship is a matter for advanced thought, an uncomfortable prospect for most. Discomfort aside, no one should hire the first person they meet who happens to practice estate law. Ability level varies wildly among estate lawyers, which makes finding the best individual for probate and estate administration all the more difficult. When deciding upon your estate attorney, here are five answers you should definitely consider.
- Years In Estate Planning: If a lawyer is only recently out of law school, or passed the state bar within the last couple of years, move on. Of course, everyone must start somewhere, but that start should not be upon your Last Will and Testament.
- What about the revocable living trust?: To ensure that a trust you create is not useless right after your demise, the assets must be titled in the name of the recipients. This involves more paperwork and funding, and any law firm not prepared to guide you through the steps should not receive your business.
- Are they insured?:Some states require insurance, some do not, so be aware of the specifications for your state. If it is not required, ensure that any firm you consider carry insurance voluntarily. All people make mistakes, and in this area, the damage can be enormous. Insurance offsets that damage.
- Document reviews and changes: Make sure that the fees you are paying include a yearly review as well as any revisions. Who knows what changes to your life the future will bring, best to hire an attorney that realizes that.
- Flat fee or By the Hour: No right or wrong answer exists for this question, only the dictates of individual needs. For a person with a simple issue, an hourly fee likely will suit best. However, with complicated estates, a flat fee proves the most cost effective in general.
These uncomfortable arrangements need professional guidance to ensure their proper completion, no matter the size of the estate. From filing a few papers to arranging large trusts, all estate lawyers you find should still be able to address these five questions.