4 QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY
Choosing your estate planning attorney is a very personal process. Here are a few questions you should ask your estate planning lawyer to see if they are the right person for the job.
Why did they choose estate planning as their specialty?
What is their process?
What information do you need to give them?
Who should I involve in the planning?
WHY DID THEY CHOOSE ESTATE PLANNING AS THEIR SPECIALTY?
At its heart, estate planning is a personal effort. Many estate planning attorneys chose this specialization due to personal experiences. These attorneys are enthusiastic and delighted. They are passionate about what they do. They can talk about why they chose this profession and field. You should consider moving on to other options if your attorney doesn't express a genuine interest in estate planning.
WHAT IS THEIR PROCESS?
If you have never done estate planning before, it can be intimidating. So, understanding the process can help reduce some of your fears. The estate planning process differs depending on the attorney and their skill level.
At DuPont & Blumenstiel, we operate on what we like to call our 2-2-2 Guarantee. It means that your estate planning documents will be completed within 2 meetings, taking up 2 hours or less of your time, and all within 2 weeks (dependent on your availability of course).
When 'lawyer shopping' ask the receptionist what the process is like, and how long it takes. This can give you an idea of the level of service and communication they will give you.
WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU NEED TO GIVE THEM?
Always provide the legal team with complete and factual information. This ensures the success of your estate plan. Not including correct information in your estate plan can effectively make it unusable. Failure to give these crucial details can result in this uselessness:
all the accounts and real property you own;
other obligations; and
the existence of family members.
The experienced estate planning attorneys at DuPont & Blumenstiel in Dublin, Ohio will collect your information safely and privately.
WHO SHOULD I INVOLVE IN THE PLANNING?
You should be aware of who your attorney plans to involve in the process. This is because estate planning involves very personal and sensitive information. Some people find it awkward to talk about their matters. They would rather be lowkey and minimal in giving their information. However, your estate plan may affect many of your loved ones. So, it's important that it is done right.
While some might find it helpful to involve their adult children in their estate planning, it is not a requirement. Sometimes, disagreements happen between siblings. So, it's better to spare them from these discussions. By doing this, you may rule out any future claims of undue pressure on your decisions.
You may want to have trusted advisors to serve as help. They can help ensure that your estate plan runs smoothly. Here are some examples of professionals you may want to involve:
Certified public accountants (CPAs)
Your attorney can work together with your financial, tax, and insurance advisors to ensure that your beneficiary designations are correct and make any necessary updates to them. Your CPA can help explain how income, estate, and gift taxes work together. They can also work with your attorney to ensure that you save as much money on taxes as possible. However, if there are parts of your estate plan that you would prefer to keep private, your lawyer may be able to restrict the amount of information that they share with your other advisors.
At DuPont & Blumenstiel, we are proud to offer you access to a slew of partners that can holistically serve your financial and legal needs. Our sister companies include a financial planning firm, DuPont Wealth Solutions, and a tax planning firm, Ohio Tax Advocates.
For questions on estate planning, ask your potential attorney the questions below. Their answers will give you more clarity on who they are as a person and how they work. This will help determine if they're the right fit for you and what you need.
What is your process?
What level of service can I expect from working with you?
How many cases like mine have you handled in the past?
After hearing their responses, if you'd then like to continue working with us please give us a call at 614-389-9711.
Want to learn more about our process? Read our Consumer's Guide to Estate Planning in Ohio.