Planning your estate is an important step in ensuring that you, your loved ones, and your estate will be taken care of in the event of your incapacity or death. A few documents can determine the type of medical attention you receive, who handles your financial matters, and how your estate is distributed after your passing. Choosing a knowledgeable and experienced professional to guide you through the estate planning process can protect your family from trouble in the future.
A Relationship Built on Trust
Choosing a legal professional can be difficult. One of the most important things to consider is trust. Your estate planning attorney should be someone that you are comfortable with. In order to fully plan out your estate, you will be faced with a number of difficult questions and what-if scenarios, such as “who will care for your children” and “do you wish to be kept alive by artificial means”. Hiring an attorney you feel comfortable with who is able to talk through these situations with you can make the process much simpler and less stressful. In many cases, the attorney who drafts your estate planning documents will also be working with your loved ones to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. Choosing someone your trust who is aware of your wishes can make this process easier.
Practice Areas and Focus
There are numerous possible practice areas in the field of law. Even within estate planning, there are a number of different focuses. Estate planning attorneys can:
- Draft estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts
- Handle probate, will contests and trust administration practices
- Provide elder care information for issues such as Medicaid
- Handle guardianship proceedings for incapacitated persons
If you have a specific estate planning concern, such as reducing estate taxes or managing ongoing trusts, it is important to consult with an attorney who has experience in that particular field. Estate planning is a broad area of practice and specialized knowledge can save you time and money in the long run.
Consider Your Situation
Each estate is different and it is possible that your estate may require special attention. Choose an attorney who is willing to work with you and ask yourself:
- Do I need my attorney to speak multiple languages?
- Do I prefer to communicate via phone, mail or email?
- Do I need my attorney to be familiar with estate laws in multiple states?
- Do I prefer my attorney to be close by geographically?
Attorneys who are able to fulfill your more specific requests are more likely to be a better overall fit in the planning process.