People working with an attorney for the first time to plan their estates may wonder what they should expect from the attorney. The same goes for people who have worked with attorneys in other areas of law. Estate planning is different from more adversarial areas of law in which your attorney is arguing for your case. In estate planning, your attorney should work with you to create the best plan for your life and circumstances.
Listening to Your Concerns
When planning your estate, naturally you want your concerns addressed. The final estate plan should reflect your goals. Your attorney should listen to thoughts and concerns that you have about the plan and about your financial and family circumstances. You never know when one small detail about your life could have a major legal impact on how your plan should be structured. For that reason, one-size-fits-all wills do not work for most people.
Communication and Explanation
Your estate planning attorney should communicate with you about how he or she will use estate planning structures to achieve your goals. He or she should explain to you why you need various parts of the estate plan, such as a will, a trust, a health care directive, and more. If you have questions, your attorney should answer them.
Creating Your Plan
Your attorney will need to spend some time drafting the legal documents that will make up your estate plan. After you receive the documents for review, make sure to ask any remaining questions you have before you sign them. Ask your attorney where he or she recommends that you keep the documents.
Check in with your attorney every once in a while to learn about any significant legal changes that could impact your estate plan. In general, you should update your estate plan every few years, or after any major life changes such as divorce, birth of a child, or death in the family. Your attorney can advise you on making changes, and a future blog will discuss other times you should update your plan.
Planning your estate? Look to Janet Brewer, Esq. for thorough and thoughtful estate planning advice. Janet’s more than 20 years of legal experience and her certification as a California estate planning and probate specialist by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization will give you confidence and peace of mind. To schedule a “Get Acquainted” meeting, visit Janet's website or call her office at (650) 469-8206.