Estate Planning Lawyers

Estate Planning Lawyers

No doubt you are concerned about the future health and survival of your family. Whether you are concerned about your children, spouse or extended family, this care and consideration is reflected in the time and care you are willing to spend to create the best plan possible to protect them and eliminate difficulties which can arise when there is no estate plan in place.

Estate planning allows you to organize the disposition of your estate in preparation for your death, either expected or unexpected, with the goal of minimizing the taxes your beneficiaries will have to pay, thereby maximizing the transfer of your wealth to the intended recipient.

Estate planning is not simply creating a will but can also ensure that after you die it is clear how you would like you investments, businesses, and property disbursed. Under some conditions, your estate plan may also outline the type of health care treatment you desire in the case of incapacitation. This can be done through a medical power of attorney.

Finding the right estate planning lawyer is critical and an estate planning lawyer can help with every aspect of the process including:

  • Creating a will or trust
  • Assigning the power of attorney (living will, medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney)
  • Planning for the care of your children
  • Making arrangements for your funeral
  • Estate administration
  • Business succession
  • Elder law planning
  • Guardianships, conservatorships and incompetency proceedings

Young adults with few assets and no minor children may not need to worry about estate planning, but if you are the parent of a minor child, have assets you would like to protect, or have medical health treatment concerns it is a good idea to consider estate planning.

Finding the right estate planning lawyer can be a challenge. Find an estate planning attorney whose primary practice is in probate and estate planning. Finding a cheap lawyer who does estate planning “on the side” can lead to poor planning and may cost your family more in the end.

All costs for estate planning should be discussed with your estate planning attorney prior to signing a contract.

The typical costs to hire an estate planning lawyer can range from $800 to $3,500. Of course, the complexity of the estate, the lawyer and the location can all greatly impact the cost. If you have extensive property or own a business, additional legal professionals such as a tax accountant may need to be consulted, adding additional costs. Some estate lawyers also may prefer to work at an hourly rate.

Make sure that your estate planning lawyer is willing to fully evaluate your estate and understands you long-term goals. Do not hire an estate planning attorney who suggests a “one size fits all” approach to planning your estate.

Prior to you meeting with your estate planning attorney, it is a good idea to write down specific questions you would like addressed at your consultation. Several questions that need to be asked include:

  • How much does your service cost and do you charge by the hour?
  • Will I have to pay a retainer fee? If so, how much will it cost?
  • What other expenses may not be included in the flat fee rate?
  • How do I pay you and when is the payment due?
  • Can I pay using a payment plan?
  • Can you provide an itemized list of the fees and costs that I will be charged?
  • What is included in the estate plan?
  • What are the tax implications for my plan? What about compared to other plans?
  • How long will it take to complete my estate plan?
  • How long have you been in practice?
  • Do you primarily do estate planning?
  • Will you be working on my case or are there other paralegals who will be doing the work?

These are simply a few questions that you should ask prior to hiring an estate planning lawyer. With the right planning and research, you should be able to find the right lawyer to make sure your loved ones are cared for in the event of your death.

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