Before hiring the most experienced or the cheapest lawyer, it’s important to know what questions to ask an estate planning attorney.
Estate planning involves discussing important and personal topics like your family, finances, and goals.
When choosing an estate planning attorney, you want to be comfortable and confident with the person you choose.
It’s likely that the attorney will be a part of your life for many years and will certainly know personal information about you.
Below, we provide a list of questions to ask your estate planning attorney.
At Massingill, we make estate planning simple. We take the information you give us and craft a unique strategy that sets a plan for the future.
What Experience Do You Have with Estate Planning?
You want a lawyer whose experience matches your needs.
In other words, if you require more sophisticated estate planning, you need a lawyer that has years of experience.
If you have unique assets, such as oil interests or commercial property, your estate planning attorney should know how to handle them when crafting your estate plan.
Experience matters, so you would be wise to give weight to the number of years the lawyer has been practicing estate planning.
Of all the questions to ask an estate planning attorney, this may be the most important.
The last thing you want is to divulge information about yourself just to find out the attorney doesn’t know how to address your needs.
Do You Have a License to Practice Law in Texas?
While this might seem like one of the more obvious questions to ask an estate planning attorney, it’s best to be sure that the attorney you want can actually do the job in your state.
What Do Your Fees Include?
Attorneys typically charge for their services by the hour, for a flat fee, or use a combination of both.
Make sure you ask what their fees include to avoid any surprises. If the attorney charges a flat fee, ask if that fee includes revisions to your estate plan.
How Will We Communicate?
It’s incredibly frustrating to work with someone who is unresponsive or fails to address your questions in a timely fashion.
Unfortunately, a common complaint people have against lawyers is that they are difficult to reach when the client has a concern.
Ask the attorney about the best way to get in touch and what staff is available to support them if the attorney is unavailable.
Knowing this information will set proper expectations at the onset of the relationship.
Can You Create a Comprehensive Estate Plan?
An estate plan typically includes more than just a will.
Trusts, powers of attorney, and advance directives may also be necessary to achieve your goals.
Choose an estate planning attorney who is knowledgeable and capable of using a variety of estate planning tools.
How Will You Ensure My Estate Plan Actually Works?
Having an estate plan only matters if it actually works. Once you have your documents (wills, trusts, etc.) in place, there’s still work to do.
You may need to retitle assets, get a life insurance policy, fund a trust, or put designations on certain accounts.
It’s incredibly helpful and efficient when your estate planning attorney can assist with asset coordination.
Are You Comfortable Communicating with My Other Advisors?
To create an effective estate plan, you want your financial, legal, and tax advisors working in tandem.
Together, they can provide an accurate picture of your assets, liabilities, etc., so you can be sure your plan addresses everything you need it to address.
Do You Handle Probate?
Probate is the legal process of handling a person’s affairs after they die.
It can be an incredibly tedious, time-consuming, and expensive process, especially when the decedent (the person who died) didn’t have a thorough estate plan.
You want an estate planning attorney who knows how probate works and can find ways to avoid it—if that’s what’s best for your situation.
Our Estate Planning Attorneys Have the Experience You Want and Need
Knowing what estate planning questions to ask will prepare you for selecting an attorney.
At Massingill, our goal is to provide unparalleled service and attention to our clients. To achieve that, we offer the following:
- Tailored versions of court-tested estate planning documents;
- Comprehensive estate plans (including a will, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, directive to physicians, HIPAA waiver, guardianship for minors, and more);
- Personal attention to each client;
- Flat fees for our services;
- Unlimited pre-execution revisions,
- A 90-day guarantee; and
- Probate services.
We believe that your estate plan isn’t something set in stone. It evolves with you as life events happen, and we’re here to adjust your plan accordingly.
We proudly provide estate planning services to families in the Greater Austin, Texas area.
Our level of service has earned us over 150 five-star Google ratings.
To schedule a consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys, call us at 512-601-6741 or contact us online. Let’s start planning today.