The Important Questions You Should Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

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The Important Questions You Should Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

estate planning attorney

More than half of all American adults don’t have any kind of plan in place for when they pass away. They haven’t thought about writing their will yet or setting up an estate plan, which is a risky game to play.

Whether you’re only in your mid-30s or you’re about to turn 60, you need to have an estate plan. Estate planning allows you to identify beneficiaries, what you plan to give them, and how certain assets are going to be split up. It’s basically what gives the final say when you’re gone – and definitely not something to take lightly.

This is why many people hire an estate planning attorney. But, it’s not enough to hire an attorney and let them handle everything. You have to work closely with them in order to get the best possible results.

Here are 3 questions to ask to make sure that happens.

1. How Will My Assets Be Taxed?

You can’t think of your assets in terms of face value. Doing so can mean you end up giving some people less than they need to support themselves after you’re gone. More so, it can create additional stress for your loved ones as they figure out the tax requirements of the assets you leave them!

It’s better to plan ahead for this than to put it on their hands. Take the time to go through all of your assets with your attorney and discuss what the federal and state tax requirements are for them.

2. How Do All of My Documents Work Together?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask an estate planning attorney.

You have to remember that estate planning is not the same as a will, and it’s not the only document that determines who your beneficiaries are. You may also have dependents on your life insurance or co-owners of certain assets that you have to think about.

Put simply, there are many different documents that people will be referring to after you pass away. But, estate planning is the most important. If you have a beneficiary listed on your life insurance but not on your estate plan, they may not get the benefits you’re hoping they do.

As such, it’s good to grow your understanding of how each document relates to another while putting everything together with your estate planning attorney.

3. What Do You Need from Me?

Most attorneys will do their due diligence and ask all the questions they need to before beginning your estate planning. They’ll talk about everything from personal finances and assets to your marital status, children, and even if you’ve had a sex change.

These may seem like personal details, but they make a big difference in the way your estate planning is prepared and carried out. It’s a good idea to double check that all your bases are covered by asking your attorney if they need any more information from you.

He/she may ask for additional details regarding your first marriage or for documents to prove a loved one’s medical condition and unique needs. These are just a few examples of all the things that may be asked of you.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney

Just as it’s good to have a clear, open line of communication with your estate planning attorney as you’re working together, it’s even more important to ask the right questions before you hire someone!

You need to make sure the person who does your estate planning is an experienced, trustworthy professional. A few questions that will help you determine this are:

  • How long have you been an estate planning attorney?
  • Do you specialize in estate planning and elder law?
  • Do you have references I can speak to?

Make sure you do your research before you move forward with an attorney, which is best done by meeting them face to face. If you’re interested in setting up a consultation with one of our professionals, click here!