Estate planning is an activity that individuals and couples will often put off. The reasons can be simple, such as it is something that can seemingly wait for another year, or it can involve more complex emotions, such as contemplating one’s mortality. It can prompt some to think about their legacy or how they want to give it all away.
Whatever their motives, those pursuing estate planning often find it helpful to work with an experienced professional. There are crucial decisions regarding guardianship of minors, providing support to grown children and establishing protocols for the care of spouses or adults who cannot care for themselves. Mistakes can leave loved ones wanting or money squandered.
How to start the conversation
Potential clients can have a list of questions related to their initial goals. They can pose these to an attorney to determine whether the fit is a good one. Every individual or couple is unique, but some vital starter questions include:
- What type of services do you provide?
Estate planning attorneys are like other lawyers and professionals, so they have different strengths. It does make sense to someone who handles probate litigation if you are looking to create a trust.
- Based on the info I provided, what are the priorities?
Attorneys can lay out a plan for getting one’s affairs in order.
- What, if anything, are we missing in our initial thoughts?
The estate planning attorney will have insights based on experience and their knowledge of the law. They may need to point out things not yet considered, such as powers of attorney or health care directives.
- Can you create a comprehensive plan?
It is best to determine if they have a background beyond the usual elements like real estate, bank accounts, investment portfolios, retirement accounts, and insurance policies to deal with issues specific to the family.
These documents may need updating down the line
These questions during the initial consultation will likely lead to other questions as the attorney and client map out a course of action. Also, the needs of the individual or family will change as circumstances change. It is always a good idea to update the estate plan’s details to reflect these changes best.