Estate lawyers deal with issues related to passing on an inheritance, or in some cases, receiving one.
These tasks include:
- Writing up wills
- Setting up trusts
- Estate planning
- Delegating inheritance disputes
- Setting up living wills
- Discussing tax saving strategies for passing on your estate
Do I Need an Estate Lawyer?
Estate planning affects people of all generations and backgrounds. If you want a peaceful splitting of your estate after death, with as few taxes to pay as possible, talk to an estate lawyer. You may also need to consult an estate lawyer if you were wrongfully neglected in an inheritance.
Preparing to Meet an Estate Lawyer
- Make a list of everyone you wish to leave something behind to, even charitable organizations and friends.
- If your children are young, find suitable and willing caregivers for them.
- Find out what things are especially meaningful to certain people in your life, in order to avoid disagreements later on.
- Be prepared to discuss your retirement plans, since estate lawyers have many strategies to minimize the amount of tax you and your family have to pay.
- Be willing to share your personal opinions and wishes for funeral arrangements with your lawyer.
What Will it Cost?
Most estate lawyers charge a set fee for drawing up a will or trusts, but they may or may not charge by the hour for consultation. Find out before seeking the counsel of an estate lawyer if you can ask questions without being charged, and what maintenance fees exist for updating your estate plan after the initial session. Most lawyers charge nothing or a nominal fee for an initial consultation, so feel free to compare professionals until you find a good match.
How do I Pick a Good Estate Lawyer?
- Ask your friends if they recommend an estate lawyer they may have hired.
- Ask the lawyer you consult if she has a family or strong ties to an organization, or anything else in common with your values. It helps to have a personal bond with your lawyer.
- Find out if your lawyer charges for follow-up questions or not, and how much it will cost to revise your estate plan down the road, if you think you’ll make frequent changes.