Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney
Can you structure my estate plan so that whatever I leave to my kids or spouse will be protected from creditors (a lawsuit against them) or predatoMost estate plans are not designed to provide any protection from creditors and predators, and are focused only on avoiding probate and saving taxes. I believe that most clients want to leave their hard-earned wealth to their children in a form that offers a level of protection from catastrophic liability lawsuits and ex-spouses. Using tools like The Personal Protections Plannera,,? and The Trust Protections Extendera,,? helps clients to visualize and choose the levels of protection and control which best fit the character and dangers facing their children.
What legacy services do you offer to transfer my non-financial wealth along with my financial wealth? Do you offer periodic "priceless conversations"Although studies indicate that heirs value the reception of non-financial wealth (family stories, values, etc.) much more than they do financial wealth, very few estate planning attorneys provide a process for transferring non-financial wealth. Professionally trained estate planners can use state-of-the-art tools to capture and transfer your values and stories to your children and grandchildren. By using "Priceless Conversations," which are guided interviews, planners can capture your stories and values in your own voice in CD format. Ask if your attorney provides this service before you make a hiring decision.
How do you assure that my plan stays current with changes in the law? Do you have an established process to update my plan on a regular basis?Most attorneys do not offer a formal update program. After signing their documents, clients are typically told, "Call me if you ever need to make a change." How are clients to know when the tax or case law changes in such a way that requires a change to their estate plan? How does the lawyer know when the client's goals change? The predictable result is almost no post-planning communication, and plans go out of date.
Before deciding to hire an attorney, ask if the firm provides a formal update and maintenance process. For instance, the LegacyBuilder Three Step Processa,,? includes yearly group client meetings and educational events where changes in the law are explained, and estate plans are updated with changes in the law every other year through restatements as a part of the formal maintenance process.