We all have roles in life: to some people we may be children, to others, colleagues, to still others, students and teachers and friends and so on. Each of these roles carries with it a set of expectations that should be fulfilled. It can be difficult to know what kind of expectations we should establish for our estate attorney, however. What kind of relationship is this? How does it work? Today we are going to explore the seven requirements you should expect of your Peachtree estate attorney, in order to have a functional and helpful relationship. Let’s get started.
- Can you see yourself working with them?
If after meeting with an estate attorney you simply don’t see yourself working with them, it’s important to trust your intuition and find a different estate attorney. You’ll be able to find a lawyer who will work with you and to whom you’ll feel an appropriate connection, the type of person you can see yourself working with. Don’t waste time and energy on an estate lawyer you don’t feel good about, no matter what.
- Do they carry malpractice insurance?
This might seem like an odd question to ask an estate attorney in Peachtree, but legal mistakes do happen. Any estate law firm worth your time should be carrying malpractice insurance, as it shows that they think highly enough of their clients that they will protect them against potentially costly errors.
- Do you want this to be a one-time transaction or an ongoing maintenance program?
This one really falls to you in terms of making sure you know which you would like. If you just want a one-time transaction with an attorney to determine your estate, that’s fine. Some prefer to instead have an ongoing relationship with their estate attorney in case things change over time or updates need to be made regularly. If that sounds more your style, an ongoing maintenance program, which many firms provide for a small annual fee, ensures that your attorney will get in touch with you once or twice a year or whatever your agreement stipulates, to address ongoing issues with your estate, heirs, etc.
This is a determination that is entirely up to you; many find that an ongoing relationship with an estate attorney brings peace of mind as well as freedom to assume that things may change and your estate can accommodate that.
- What is the projected length of your project?
You want a high-quality estate plan, not a quick-and-dirty one. A shorter project time isn’t better; a lengthier planning period is only meant to help try to stave off the probate process. It might seem like your attorney is just ringing up those fees, but really, they are aligning your needs and wishes accordingly and ensuring all of the appropriate documentation is going to be signed, certified, and filed accordingly.
- Where does a living trust play into this?
A living trust is a legal entity created to hold ownership of an individual’s assets, and it has three phases: your lifetime, your possible incapacitation, and what happens to your assets after your death. If your attorney cannot create a living trust, your family may end up with a huge financial mess, since estate plans are functionally useless unless linked to a trust. Your living trust is designed to keep your family out of court-appointed guardianship of your assets, which can cost thousands. A well-designed living trust is a vital document in any estate plan in the Peachtree area.
- Know what an estate lawyer actually does
An estate lawyer advises clients on how to get their affairs in order in preparation for death or severe disability in Peachtree. Estate lawyers advise family members, provide counsel to their clients on a wide range of questions concerning their estates and assets, and assist in avoiding estate taxes and their beneficiaries’ creditors following their passing.
- Find an attorney who specializes in estate planning
You don’t want to go to the lawyer that does it all. Most definitely, this is the time that you want to seek out an estate planning attorney, specifically, and a local one at that. Local estate planning attorneys know the ins and outs of every law and regulation governing estates in their country, state, city and county. They know them back and forth and they know how to work to keep your estate out of probate.