You should ask three types of questions:
Estate Planning 101
The first type of question is whether the attorney is experienced in this area of the law – how many years have they practiced in this area, how many other clients have they helped with similar estate planning needs, do they have any specific credentials or training specific to estate planning. Like other service providers, it is not uncommon to ask an attorney for references.
- Cost Structure
Next, you should ask how they bill for their services – do they offer fixed-fee offerings (i.e., a set of estate planning documents at a fixed price) or is it billed by the hour. If hourly billing, what is their billable rate and how long do they estimate it would take to provide the requested services. You should also ask whether any other staff – like associate attorneys or paralegals – will be working on your matter.
- Your Specific Needs
Last, you should explain your specific circumstances and your particular goals. Even the initial consultation will be subject to the attorney-client privilege and, as a result, you should feel free to discuss confidential information. It is important for you to try to determine whether the attorney will be a good fit and, more importantly, whether they can satisfy your particular needs.
Above all, it is important to talk with an experienced and licensed attorney in your state about your specific circumstance and how best to address your particular needs.
Need an attorney? One of the best sources is to ask for a referral from your friends and family. You can also check with your local or state bar association to see if they have a directory or referral service.
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There are hundreds of details that your family will need during this time of need that are not included in a will. It’s never too early to be prepared.
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This article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about your legal rights, responsibilities or options, you should consult with an attorney in your state