Important Estate Planning Questions to Ask Your Attorney

Important Estate Planning Questions to Ask Your Attorney

Estate planning might not fill you with joy, because it’s associated with contemplating your own mortality. Still, it’s essential to plan for the future, i.e., your posterity. Ensuring that your assets will be transferred to your loved ones without incident requires a proactive approach. Effective estate planning begins with choosing a highly skilled estate planning attorney. Ask strategic questions to assure you’re making the right pick.

Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney These Questions

When beginning your search, ask the following questions:

  1. Do you have specific experience dealing with trusts and estates? What can you tell me about it?

One of the most important things about your prospective attorney is experience. Choose someone with an extensive background in estate planning law, ideally someone who has been in business for at least 3 years.

  1. How long will it take to complete my estate plan?

Usually, there is no rush to complete an estate plan, but in some cases, there may be a time crunch. Avoiding probate is the key to an efficient estate planning process.

  1. Can I update my estate plan if I need to?

In some cases, you may be able to schedule a semi-annual or annual review of your estate plan – this is called a “maintenance program.” Estate planning maintenance is essential because not only do your life circumstances change, so do tax laws and structures.

  1. Can you help me fund a trust?

A revocable living trust can be a valuable asset for some people, but not all estate planning attorneys provide help in this regard.

  1. How can I avoid the probate process?

This is the major question for most people looking to create an estate plan. The probate process can be both time consuming and expensive – in fact, some estimates find that probate alone costs the nation $2 billion a year. A living trust is a good way to avoid the process of probate, but your estate planning attorney can give you more details.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Once you’re comfortable with your attorney, it’s time to start asking yourself some hard questions. We might not like to think about it, but we have to consider all aspects of an estate plan, including:

  1. When do you want to pull the plug?

Most lawyers will have you sign a directive concerning nutrition and hydration, but this is a good time to dig a little deeper. Go into more depth about timing and when to stop aggressive medical intervention. This saves your loved ones the pain of doing it for you.

  1. Who gets your children if both you and your spouse die?

No one can replace you, but you must be prepared for all scenarios. Now is the time to think about who would be the best fit in raising your children. If you don’t name a guardian, the courts will do it for you.

Estate planning is one of the most important things you’ll do in your life. To assure a speedy and efficient transfer of assets, be sure you’ve asked yourself and your attorney these questions.