Estate planning isn’t necessarily an “exciting” time, but it is a necessary time. After all, you want to ensure that your family is taken care of when you are no longer here to help. If you want your assets to be passed down easily and without much contestation, then it’s time to call an estate planning attorney. The good news is, the right attorney can make your passing that much smoother; however, the wrong one would could mean disaster. Here are some questions to ask to make sure that your estate planning attorney is a good match for your needs.

What is your level of experience with estate planning?

While not everyone needs to have been doing something for ten years to be successful, a certain amount of experience will help you make the right decision. Ask about your potential attorney’s background and experience with estate planning.

How long will my estate planning project take?

Making a solid estate plan does not have a timestamp on it. The key is to avoid the probate process. With that said, make sure your lawyer knows that you aren’t in any rush, and they shouldn’t be either.

Can I review my estate planning documents when we are finished?

Even if you are working with the same attorney who all your friends and family members use, you will still want to double check that everything has been laid out exactly the way you intend it to. No matter how skilled an attorney may be, they are still human. Double checking the plan with your own eyes will help you feel more at ease when all is said and done.

Can I make adjustments later on?

Many law firms and attorneys will offer a semi-annual or annual review of your documents. This matters because the laws can change over the course of a year, meaning that the taxes could change. Your life may have also changed in that time, meaning that your estate plan may need to be adjusted.

Do you quote a fixed price once you have all my available information for planning?

The answer you are looking for is “yes.” Some attorneys will switch from a fixed rate to an hourly rate, and that is not something many people are ready to deal with. Make sure your attorney is charging you based on the entire project in order to keep you feeling at ease during the process.

If any issues come up about my estate, will your office be able to help me if I have a question?

Technically there is no correct answer here—you just want to know how the attorney responds. This question is about gauging how comfortable you feel with this attorney, and whether or not you are okay with going to them when you need help. If you don’t feel at ease, then perhaps this is not the estate planning attorney for you.

Contact Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

In the end, everyone’s situation is different. The attorney that works best for you may not be the one your best friend would choose when it came to making that decision. With that in mind, please give us a call! We hope that you find our team of professionals to be a good fit for your estate planning needs.