Since life can be unpredictable, it’s wise to take a proactive approach to estate planning. By making arrangements long before you actually need to, you’ll ensure your loved ones are taken care of no matter what happens.
Of course, that’s assuming the arrangements you make are actually legally binding. The best way to guarantee as much is by enlisting help from a seasoned estate planning attorney.
With your family’s financial security at stake, however, you shouldn’t turn to just anyone. Estate planning is a vast practice area, encompassing everything from wills and trusts to special needs planning. To ensure you’ve found the right lawyer, ask the following questions before hiring them:
1. Have You Helped Many Clients Whose Situations Were Similar to My Own?
Do you own a small business? Are you a real estate investor? Do you have loved ones who aren’t related by blood or marriage relying on you for financial support?
Whatever your situation, it’s imperative that you find an attorney who’s familiar with your estate planning needs. You need someone who can propose practical solutions for ensuring all your wishes and contingencies are carried out after your passing.
2. How Long Will It Take You to Get Back to Me?
As you consider the kinds of arrangements you’re going to have to put in place, questions will inevitably arise. When they do, you deserve a prompt answer from your lawyer. That means if you end up having to leave a message, you should be able to count on them getting back to you within a matter of days, not weeks.
While you can ask the attorney about their average response time during your initial consultation, it’s also wise to do a little research of your own. One of the easiest ways to gauge a firm’s commitment to their clients is by reading reviews from past clients.
3. What Is Your Fee Structure?
Since everyone has unique needs when it comes to estate planning, there’s really no standard pricing structure for formalizing the arrangements. As such, it’s important to confirm that the attorney you’re considering hiring is within your budget before you proceed with their counsel.
You should also inquire about the firm’s fees should you ever have to modify your estate plan. Since your circumstances will likely change over the years, your wishes probably will, too. When that time comes, it would be nice to know the practice will honor whatever fee structure you agreed upon from the start.
4. What Do You Need from Me to Get Started on My Estate Plan?
If, at the end of your consultation, you’ve decided to hire the attorney in question, ask for a list of all the documents they’ll need from you to start making your arrangements. The sooner you get everything to them, the sooner they can put your plans in place, and the sooner you’ll have peace of mind knowing your family is protected.
Speak with a Michigan Estate Planning Lawyer
For a knowledgeable estate and trust attorney who’s well-versed in Michigan law, look no further than Smith & Johnson. Our team assists clients with all kinds of probate matters. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Michigan estate planning attorneys, call 231-946-0700 or submit our Online Contact Form.