Managing an estate is not a simple task. The more it grows, the greater the number of complications. Not just your family, but employees and, at times, entire communities might be involved with your estate, depending on the kind of work you are doing. Hence, you need an estate planning attorney to manage everything flawlessly for you.
When planning a huge estate, tracking income and bequeathing it to your loved ones while taking care to avoid any conflict of interest are the utmost necessities. You consult lawyers like Attorney Leslie Thomas to know more about the intricacies and legalities involved in the process.
However, selecting the best lawyer may be challenging, too. Here are some questions to ask to help you decide on the right estate planning attorney.
What Is The Primary Focus Area Of The Lawyer?
You should ask if the lawyer has specific experience in the domain of estate planning. While a lawyer might have ample knowledge of handling property disputes or might have experience in real estate law, it is not the same as managing estate planning.
Private estates have several regulations to comply with, which are very different from commercial property laws, and your lawyers need to have hands-on knowledge and experience about it.
How Long Has the Lawyer Worked with Clients?
While asking about their experience, do not just ask about how long they have been dealing with estate planning, but how long they have worked with their client. A lawyer might have been practicing estate planning over a decade or two but might not have worked with each client for more than a couple of years.
Work with a lawyer who has worked with an estate long enough where it was possible to see the outcome of his work and meticulous planning after the estate owner’s death.
Were there any disputes that the parties got into? How did the lawyer resolve those issues in keeping with the wishes of the deceased client? Were there any hurdles from the Internal Revenue Service or similar bodies? This will help you ascertain the long-term commitment of the lawyer to your cause.
Will The Lawyer Execute The Estate Plan?
Drawing up a plan is one thing. Ensuring that every word is executed is quite another. Try not to opt for a lawyer who will draw up the plans, leaving you to search for responsible parties to execute the terms.
It is always better if the same lawyer who drew the plans is also in charge of executing the documents and wills as they know exactly what to do, and no one will be able to outwit them.
Will The Lawyer Update Your Plans After Periodic Reviews?
Depending on how much you can trust your estate planning lawyer, check if they will be willing to conduct periodic reviews of your affairs and make changes to the plan accordingly. This can happen when something happens out of the blue, and you are forced to change your will or the trust you had made.
There might be a sudden demise, an elopement, or a mishap that affects the estate’s income. Your estate plan is bound to change such circumstances. Again, legislative amendments in the state could also force you to change your plan.
Will The Lawyer Look Into Estate Taxes And Other Expenses?
One of the most crucial aspects of managing an estate is to look after the taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017 had raised estate taxes, with few new rules to tax exemptions till 2025. Other expenses that an estate has to bear include staff payment, insurance expenses, and property maintenance.
An estate has to bear sizable expenses each year, and they are more or less constant. Handling all these expenses will be a bonus. You can find out more about their services from professionals like Attorney Leslie Thomas.
How Does The Lawyer Charge Their Fees?
Some estate planning attorneys have flat fees for their services, while others will charge by the hour, while others may do both.
They usually have a standard fee for regular services like establishing a trust or making a will but charge by the hour for work that might take more research or is unique to your estate. It would help if you asked about the compensation model to avoid being overcharged later.
Lastly, you should also ask yourself whether you were comfortable speaking to the attorney and whether they answered all your questions satisfactorily. Did you think you could entrust your estate’s financial details to the attorney? If yes, you could go ahead and hire them.