Yes, you can find lawyers almost everywhere. But it’s a bit scary when you have to hire one. You’ll have all kinds of fears. Will you be able to afford the right lawyer and what will it cost? Changing lawyers can be expensive. Here are some pointers to make sure you get the right lawyer.
As a lawyer, I can tell you that there are lawyers to suit almost every price range. But price is not the only thing to worry about. You’ll want to ask your potential lawyer some questions.
There are different questions to ask in every area of law. Make a list of what you need to get from your lawyer. Here are questions to ask a lawyer if you are doing estate planning.
My Estate Planning Questions
• General information – What is a will?
• Help choosing executors – How do I choose one?
• Help making a will – Where do I start?
• Preparing powers of attorney – How do these documents protect me?
• Help finding guardians for minor children – How do I protect them?
• A trust – Do I need one?
• How can I save probate and income taxes?
These questions will help you choose the right lawyer based on your needs.
Perhaps you feel comfortable with Anne who is lawyer you know. She completed your divorce or the purchase of your new home. Does that mean you should let her prepare your will? You want to trust and communicate well with your lawyer. But these are not the only factors you need to consider.
Let’s return to Anne for a second. Ask yourself these questions about her:
• Does Anne regularly prepare simple or complex wills for clients?
• Will she be able to identify the complexities in your estate plan?
• Will she refer you to experts or consult with tax advisors for help?
Could Frank’s nephew be the answer? Frank’s nephew is a good criminal lawyer. However, he may be of little to no help to you if you must contest a will.
Can you identify the type of lawyer you need?
• Do you need wills before you jet away on a vacation this Saturday?
• Do you need a simple codicil to amend your existing will?
Do not think all lawyers are the same.
You may need to do a little home work. Speak to a lawyer to learn what type of law and expertise you require. Ask a lawyer if you need a legal specialist. Being in a second marriage, a common law relationship, or having a business raises complex issues. Not every lawyer will identify the potential problems.
What to Ask Estate Planning Lawyers
So, let’s say you’re meeting an estate planning lawyer. Here are some questions to ready before you enter the law office.
• What should I budget for my will costs?
• How long will the process take?
• What materials do I need to bring to our meeting?
• Will you give me draft documents to review prior to signing?
• Is there anything I should read before my appointment?
• Will I meet with you or your law clerk?
• May I bring someone to the meeting with me?
What’s one of the secrets to finding a good estate lawyer? Look for someone who spends no less than twenty-five percent of his or her time doing estate work.
Do you have these issues to consider?
• sophisticated corporate holdings,
• complex tax issues,
• dependents or beneficiaries under prior marriages or relationships.
You may need to pay for additional expertise.
Always hire lawyers who explain things so you don’t go crazy.
Read more plain language tips in my free report, Find the Lawyer You Need: The 5 Biggest Mistakes You Must Avoid.
About Edward Olkovich
Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of Executor Kung Fu. Visit his website, mrwills.com, for more free valuable information.
© Edward Olkovich 2013