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How to Prepare to Meet With a Wills & Probate Attorney

How to Prepare to Meet With a Wills & Probate Attorney

By planning to meet with a wills and probate attorney, you are taking an important step in planning for your future and the future of your family. Here, we will offer you some advice on how to prepare to meet with an attorney for estate planning purposes.

Look for an Experienced Wills & Probate Attorney

For many people, writing a will may seem like a pretty straightforward job, especially if you don't have a lot of property, step-children, trust funds or anything like that. But estate planning can be complicated and you have a lot of things to consider.

You want to make sure your spouse, children or other beneficiaries are taken care of after your death. You want to make sure your final wishes are carried out. You also want to make sure your will doesn't end up being contested in probate court, which can be expensive, time-consuming and cause estrangement among your beneficiaries.

There are several qualities you should look for when you meet with a wills and probate attorney:

  • Experience: When it comes to estate planning, there are many different types of ways you can structure your assets. An experienced wills and probate attorney can advise you about the ones that will be most advantageous to your beneficiaries or that will best honor your legacy. An experienced attorney can also create a will that is flexible enough you won't need to update it every time you have another child or your life circumstances change in other ways.
  • Trustworthiness: Estate planning is a serious legal matter, so it's important to hire an estate planning attorney whose advice you can trust. In addition, if you're also naming your lawyer as executor of your estate, you want to be sure you can trust your probate attorney to deal fairly and honestly with all of your assets after you're gone.
  • Someone who understands your goals: Relationships and money can get very complicated. You will want a wills and probate attorney who understands and respects your estate-planning goals.

Create a List of Questions to Ask

There is a lot involved with wills and probate, so it makes sense to prepare some questions ahead of time to ask wills and probate attorneys. Some questions to ask include:

  • What should I include in my will and my estate planning?
  • What should I consider when it comes to end-of-life decision-making and giving someone else power of attorney, in case I can't make decisions for myself?
  • If I have more than one child or grandchild and I don't want to leave them equal parts of my estate, how can I make that clear in my will?
  • If I have young children, how can I be sure they are taken care of after I'm gone?
  • How much do you charge?
  • How long will it take to prepare my legal documents?

Gather Together Documentation

For your first meeting, you should bring several kinds of documentation, including:

  • Any other wills or trusts you have had drawn up
  • Copies of the deeds to all your property
  • Information about your life insurance policies, stock holdings and other financial accounts

In some states, you don't need an attorney to create a will for you. But by using an experienced wills and probate attorney, you can be sure your will is legal and your wishes will be followed if something should happen to you.