After years of saving you feel like you are in a good place. Your child is now halfway through high school, and you know it's time to think about planning that next chapter of your family's financial life. You keep hearing you should consider estate planning, which is recommended to anyone who is at least 18 years old, but the process itself can feel overwhelming.
Estate planning is the first time many people have even needed to hire an attorney. How do you find the right one to work with? Here are some helpful tips:
Look for a good listener
An attorney’s listening skills are vital to estate planning. It is a very detailed process that sets your family up for the future. It requires a lawyer to conduct in-depth interviews with you and your family, in addition to anyone else you wish to be involved.
These interviews cover a wide range of topics. They will include questions pertaining to everything from your property and assets, to health care decisions. If you are a business owner, you will also need to determine who you want to handle those affairs should you become unable to do so.
The ideal lawyer will be able to use your answers to point you in the right direction for your situation.
Fluency in legalese
The law has its own language. While you may recognize and understand certain terms, each area of law has its own set of terms, too. Estate planning is no outlier in this case. As you conduct your own research, you might have questions like:
- What are the current estate laws?
- What’s a power of attorney?
- How will I be affected when it comes to taxes?
- How important is it to have a trust?
The right lawyer will be able to explain the different terms and answer any questions you have in layman’s terms. Doing that will help simplify the estate planning process and help you ultimately make the right decisions.
Look for red flags
It is important to be aware of negative signs, too. How do you know if you should call the meeting short or look for a different lawyer? Here are some red flags:
- If estate planning isn’t a major part of their practice.
- If their approach doesn’t seem catered to your needs and is more a “one-size-fits-all.”
- If they seem disinterested when you meet with them
Not every lawyer is going to be right for everyone. Take note of any signs that give you even the slightest bit of uncertainty. Consult with your family and anyone you plan to involve in the process to get their input as well.
Take your time
Estate planning helps you secure your future so you can stress less and live more. Taking the time to look into the process is an investment in your family’s future. If it becomes daunting, there are attorneys experienced in estate planning whose job is to help you navigate the sometimes-complicated aspects of the law. They will help you find estate planning tools that fit your family’s financial situation best.