Questions You Should Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Estate planning can be a very difficult and emotional experience, which is why selecting the right estate planning attorney is crucial. Before meeting with an estate planning attorney, plan ahead and prepare to ask the following questions to ensure they are the right person for the job.

Why did they pick estate planning as their practice area?

Estate planning is very personal. Many great estate planning attorney’s go into estate planning because of their own personal experiences going through the difficult process of arranging their affairs. Many of the estate planning attorneys at Pavone Law Group have been influenced by their own past experiences that have inspired them to specialize in this area.

Asking your estate planning attorney why they chose that area for their practice can give you great insight into why your attorney practices the way they do. It gives you an idea of their passion and intentions, which are all important things to consider when selecting the right attorney for you. At Pavone, our attorneys care significantly about their work and are ready to share their backgrounds and stories with you. If you meet with an attorney and don’t feel they are passionate about your case and your best interests, then we suggest looking elsewhere.

What is their process?

If you are new to estate planning, then you may be feeling intimidated by all your unanswered questions regarding the process of setting up an estate plan. It can be an overwhelming process, so make sure you ask your estate planning attorney about their process to give you a clear perspective of the situation. Processes vary from attorney to attorney, so it is important to understand your attorney’s process and whether it lines up with your goals. Do you value a lot of face-to-face conversations with an attorney before signing documents or do you prefer an attorney with a less hands-on approach? There’s value in both options and there is an attorney out there who is willing to work with you in a way that fits your preferences. Contact Pavone Law Group today to find an attorney that is a good fit for you.

What information do they need from you?

For effective estate planning, it is absolutely crucial that you provide complete and accurate information to your attorney. Failure to disclose information regarding the property you own, debts, other obligations, and the existence of family members can significantly impact your estate plan in a negative way. Many attorneys will want to see supporting documentation to validate your conversations. We recommend being prepared to provide your estate planning attorney with copies of deeds, account statements, and insurance policies. Your attorney should communicate any other documents they may need to support your specific case.

Do other people have to be involved?

Knowing who your attorney intends to involve in the estate planning process is important because it is a very private process that calls for the sharing of extremely sensitive information. Some people find it quite difficult to discuss their personal matters with others and want to share this information with the fewest number of people possible. The law demands that your spouse will need to be included in the procedure if you are married.

There aren't many other people who must be involved other than your spouse. You might want to enlist trusted consultants in the process to make sure it goes smoothly, such as a financial planner, a certified public accountant (CPA), or an insurance agent. These individuals have knowledge that can be helpful in estate planning with wills and trusts processes. For instance, an effective estate plan needs to coordinate the beneficiary designations on your accounts (like retirement funds) and insurance policies with the legal documents created by your estate planning attorney. To verify that your beneficiary designations are accurate and to make any necessary adjustments, your attorney can collaborate with your financial and insurance advisors. Your CPA may also be quite helpful in ensuring that your tax savings are utilized to the fullest extent feasible by working with your lawyer to ensure that you understand how income, estate, and gift taxes interact with one another. Although these advisers can be very helpful, if there are some aspects of your estate plan that you do not want your advisors to know, your lawyer might be able to limit the amount of information that they give.

Children don't need to participate, and in some cases, they shouldn't either. It is not required to involve your adult children in the decision-making process, even if it might be useful to give them a general summary of your estate plan and how it will function after it is finished. In addition, if your adult children have strong opinions or if siblings do not get along, you should avoid involving them in the estate planning process as this would simply open the door for a later claim of undue influence to be raised against your estate plan.

Asking these questions can help you learn more about your potential estate planning attorney and gain a better understanding of their approach, the level of service they will offer, and their professional background. In the end, the responses to these queries might assist you in deciding whether the lawyer is a good fit for you and your needs. If you are interested in moving forward with your estate plan, please give Pavone Law Group a call and let us answer these questions for you.

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