7 Questions to Ask an Estate Planning Attorney in Gilbert, AZ
Are you beginning the estate planning process in Gilbert, Arizona? You need an experienced estate planning attorney by your side. Here are seven questions to ask.
Only one-third of adults across the country have completed their estate planning. This means almost two-thirds of the country is leaving their loved ones vulnerable and subject to estate planning law.
Too many people in Arizona put off working with Gilbert estate planning attorneys. Mainly because they don't want to think about those sad situations where it's needed. But it doesn't have to be a bad experience. Getting your affairs in order can be a huge stress reliever in your life. You'll feel better knowing that everything is taken care of for your loved ones you may leave behind when you take care of your estate planning needs.
The whole estate planning process will be much easier when you go in prepared. Check out these questions we think everyone should ask your Arizona estate planning lawyer! An top estate planning attorney will be able to answer them for you.
1. Is It Too Early to Start?
Many people avoid working with an attorney for estate planning is they think it's too early. This is especially true for those who might not feel like they have enough assets to make it necessary.
You might be concerned about wasting your (or the attorney's) time. Don't be afraid to ask if that's true! Estate planning lawyers will tell you if it is the right time to hire their legal services.
After you've given them a run-down of your current situation, they can show you what to do next. It may be that you only need a few documents right now. And you can add to them later when circumstances change.
Your life will change over time, you may need to think about estate tax planning and business succession planning for example. An experienced estate planning attorney will tell you what to watch for in future estate planning.
Either way, it's a good idea to check in with an estate planning expert to make sure you're where you need to be.
2. What's the First Step?
If you're like most other adults, you'll be curious about what the first step is going to be. The estate planning process is a mystery for many. Especially if you've never gone through any of it before.
It's very helpful to get a good idea of what to expect before you get started. That way, you can prepare well to keep the process moving forward. You may want to ask what types of documentation or personal information you'll need. Then you can begin to gather it.
The better understanding you have of what's coming, the easier the whole situation will be. Our Gilbert estate planning lawyers like to ask you to fill our an initial questionnaire to be able to present the right estate planning solutions for you and your family.
3. Do You Have Estate Tax Experience?
Unfortunately, estate planning isn't as simple as choosing who you want to take over for you. There are a lot of specific laws that need to be followed regarding your estate as well.
In particular, there are a lot of tax laws that will have to be followed as your wishes are carried out. The wrong estate planning lawyer may generate a tax liability for your and your loved ones. Your estate planning documents are not just documents, they are a complete estate plan strategy prepared by a law firm to you.
These aren't your typical tax rules, so many people don't have an understanding of how they work. It's helpful to make sure your attorney for estate planning know how to make sure you're compliant. Estate planning laws can be tricky.
4. How Often Will We Update the Plan?
Along the same lines, estate planning isn't something you do once and then leave for the rest of your life. Things will continue to change as you age and your estate plan should reflect all of those things. Estate planning law will change as well.
Check with your estate planning attorney to see how often they review documents. This can help you be clear on what to expect in the future. It will also be a good opportunity to learn the process for updating these kinds of legal documents. They will guide you and remind you when to ask for estate planning assistance again in the future.
Always remember to ask if the law practice will offer a free consultation again when you have to have your plan reviewed in the future.
5. What Should I Look For in Beneficiaries?
For some people, choosing beneficiaries for their assets is an easy process. But that's not the same for everyone. Some people have a hard time figuring out who they should leave their children or businesses to. This can make estate planning very difficult. If you don't do anything your estate will follow estate planning law and most likely end up going through the probate process.
If this is your situation, there's no one better to ask than your estate planning attorney. They will have experience working with some great beneficiaries. And some that are not. They will also help choose the most appropriate personal representative for your estate (also know as an estate executor) or the best trustee and successor trustee for your revocable living trust.
This type of advice is one of the main reasons you should be working with an attorney for estate planning. Most people haven't been through the process before, but a professional has. This kind of experience is invaluable to making it a smooth situation for everyone and keep you out of probate court.
6. How Many Legal Documents Will I Need?
Estate planning is different for everyone. You will need a customized approach to make sure you're fully covered. This means getting your plan in place will be a unique process. Be sure to ask what documents you'll need. Some people need a revocable living trust, some other clients need a last will.
The more involved your estate plan is, the more documentation you'll have to provide.
You may only need to declare power of attorney for both financial and health decisions. But you may need to create a living will, set up a trust, and more. It all depends on what your life looks like now and what types of assets you have in your possession.
If you have business interests you will need business succession planning and asset protection planning. You may need to create limited liability companies to protect your family and your assets. Comprehensive plans will take care of that.
7. Will You Execute My Plan?
Every estate plan will also need an executor. This is the person that shares your decisions and makes sure things are done in the proper order. Not all estate planning attorneys are the ones who fill that role. You'll want to know ahead of time what your attorney's place will be when you're gone.
We prefer to have a family member or a professional fiduciary agent to help with trust administration or the probate process.
There are so many steps to complete when talking about estate planning. Having an estate planning lawyer that you trust to help you with your estate plan helps. You may also want to make sure the law firm that you choose is also a probate law firm. That is important specially for clients with revocable living trusts. If bank accounts, real property, or certain assets fail to be properly added to the revocable living trust a probate may be necessary before you can do a trust administration. You will want to work with the same law firm to make it easier. One of your estate planning goals should be to avoid probate anyway.
A comprehensive estate plan is much more than just drafting wills. It will take care of multiple aspects of your life.
Questions for Your Estate Planning Attorney
Life is always unpredictable. You never really know what's coming around the next corner, for better or for worse. The best thing you can do is be prepared in all areas of your life. And that includes estate planning. AZ lawyers can help.
When you find a great estate planning attorney, the whole process will be easy and helpful. They'll ensure everything is in order with your accounts. That way, you don't have to worry about what will happen to your loved ones when you're gone. It's a huge relief for everyone involved.
Our team of estate planning attorneys has helped countless Arizona adults get everything they need ready. If you're interested in working on estate planning, contact us today to schedule a free consultation! We will be more than happy to explain to your our estate planning process and how we can help you.
Call (480)565-8020 or click here to schedule your free estate planning consultation today. Citadel Law Firm will be pleased to help. We are specialized in Estate planning in Arizona.
Attorney David Gerszewski was elected one of the best estate planning attorneys in the Southwest, check his article here.