Estate planning isn't the easiest area of law to understand so it's understandable why as a potential client, you might be daunted by the idea of visiting an estate planning attorney's office.
What documents will you need to bring? What will the estate planning lawyer ask you? Will you even understand anything the attorney has to say?
Relax. Remember that you're the one who is hiring the attorney. As such, you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to retain him or her.
Here are the top 4 questions you need to ask your estate planning attorney:
What documents will the attorney be preparing? The attorney can prepare one document for you or several documents, depending on what you hire the attorney for. A full estate plan often consists of a will and/or a trust, a power of attorney, a healthcare directive and a HIPAA authorization. It all depends on knowing which estate plan is right for you.
Will the attorney fund the trust or will you be required to fund it? If you're having a revocable trust prepared, you need to ask how much work the attorney plans to do. Many attorneys will charge to draft the trust terms but won't factor in the actual transfer of your assets to the trust. As such, you may be required to prepare the deeds transferring the property or you may be required to mail in prepared deeds to the county recorder.
Will the attorney include amendments? Things change. Situations change. Be sure to ask your attorney whether or not the attorney will be able to make amendments to the estate planning documents and what the charges for these changes may be.
Is your estate subject to estate tax ? This is an important question as it can impact the complexity of your estate plan. If your estate could be subject to estate tax, then it might be worth it to pay a higher fee and have your documents drafted to help your estate avoid estate tax when possible.
It's important to be informed before heading to your estate planning attorney's office. For more information, have a look at our related resources section to read more on estate planning.
- Search Directory of New York Estate Planning Lawyers (FindLaw)
- Estate Planning Checklist (FindLaw)
- Estate Planning Basics (FindLaw)