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Choosing the Right Estate Planning Attorney for You

Aug 2, 2008
Not every estate planning attorney is appropriate or qualified for your specific needs. When trying to find a good attorney to handle your estate planning, you should consider experience, knowledge, and services provided.

A good estate planning attorney will have a broad area of knowledge in the field. How do you assess whether or not an attorney has the background you need? A good way to determine whether or not your prospective lawyer is knowledgeable is to ask them questions about:
  • Probate
  • Living Trusts and revocable living trusts.
  • How laws interact from state to state regarding trusts and probate.
  • Estate Taxes
  • Living Wills
  • Powers of Attorney
More often than not, if an attorney tells you that probate is your best option, then you should look for another attorney. Probate may be better for attorneys, but not for families looking for closure. After choosing the right estate planning attorney, make sure to find out exactly what kind of services you're getting for the fee you're paying. Some important questions to ask include:
  • Does he or she prepare the trusts for you?
  • Does the service include a schedule of assets being transferred to trust?
  • Does the attorney help you transfer your assets to trust?
  • Does this person help you put your real estate in trust?
Poor estate planning could cost you extra money in the end, especially if your attorney isn't familiar with the trust process.

Keeping your trust current is one of the most important things to remember after you've already set up a trust. Many folks forget to include new real estate purchases or assets in an updated schedule of assets for their trust. In my opinion, a good estate planning attorney will educate you on how to keep your living trust up to date.

Other important items to keep in mind when discussing your estate planning include:
  • Does it include a power of attorney?
  • A living trust?
  • Health care power of attorney?
  • Instructions on how to keep new assets current?
  • Deed transference?
What about the physical location of your chosen attorney? Ironically, your estate planning attorney doesn't necessarily have to be from your home state. As long as he or she is knowledgeable about estate planning, this is fine. It's much more important to hire someone that you trust and feel comfortable working with. Hiring an estate planning attorney that you don't trust or that you don't get along with can make the estate planning process a lot more difficult than it really is.
About the Author
Discover the Secrets of Wealth Preservation as expert estate planning attorney, Steven W. Allen, reveals the proven estate protecting strategies that have been used by the wealthy for centuries. Learn more tips and tools to protect your estate from taxes and probate from the man experts call the Living Trust Doctor.
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