Hiring an Estate Attorney
Although an attorney isn't required to create a legally-binding estate plan, you may find the experience and professional advice of an estate lawyer to be worth the investment. While more expensive and time-consuming than creating your own estate plan, a knowledgeable estate attorney can help you put together every facet and plan for every eventuality.
What to Expect
The first meeting with your estate attorney should focus on your needs and how the lawyer can help. It is important you feel comfortable and work well with them. You will be revealing a lot of personal details and sensitive financial information, so it's essential to know that whoever you hire is both experienced and trustworthy.
After the initial consultation, the next steps will involve gathering all pertinent information for each document in your estate plan.
Questions and Decisions
Your estate plan will mostly center around your preferences and instructions regarding medical treatments. There will be some financial decisions in the event that you cannot communicate for yourself, as well as final instructions for your funeral and estate.
Your estate attorney will need to collect all documentation related to your estate and ask a number of important questions to know how to write your estate planning documents. Here are some of the questions you may be asked:
What are your preferences regarding life support and resuscitation? What are your instructions regarding medical treatments if you are unable to communicate for yourself?
Do you own property? What is the worth of your estate? What types of financial accounts do you have? Do you have life insurance?
Who will you leave your estate to? How much does each person receive?
Executor and Guardians
Who is your chosen executor? If you have minor children, who is their legal guardian?
Creating and Signing Documents
Once all the necessary information has been received, the attorney can begin working on drafting each document.
Your estate plan may include the following documents:
These documents cover many different types of situations, both before and after death. The purpose of each legal form is to ensure your wishes are followed in every circumstance.
After your attorney has completed the documents, each one must be signed. Even if it is not required, consider notarizing each form in your estate plan to reduce future hassles. Your Last Will and Testament must include two witnesses who are not beneficiaries.
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