Well begun is half done. This saying goes perfectly while selecting an attorney to represent your case and guiding you through morass of legal complications. If you are planning to appoint an estate planning lawyer to look after your case then you must do some homework.
First of all, you need to search different sources to find make a list of 3-4 lawyers based upon their experience and success rate. Next, you need to prepare yourself for the meeting. The preparation for the meeting is the key for a successful investment and estate planning. In case, you fail to prepare yourself thoroughly for the first meeting, then all your efforts, time and money invested into the whole project would be a sheer wastage.
Here are some important points that you must keep in mind prior to actually meeting with an estate planning lawyer.
a) Preliminary Details: The prime motto of an estate planning lawyer would be to know details about you and the person whom you represent. For instance, if a child visits the lawyer to seek assistance for his/her parent, then the lawyer would like to know the relationship he shares with the person he is complaining. Similarly, he may ask for what you are seeking help for and the reason you are looking for assistance. Hence, you need to be thoroughly prepared with all your documents that would prove your authority. b) Questionnaire: In most cases, an estate planning lawyer would want to speed up the whole process of the meeting via sending you a questionnaire. You need to fill this questionnaire in advance and the questionnaire would include your personal information, marital status, family information, list of professional advisors, list of assets and liabilities, banking and financial account information, choice of guardian for minor children, choice of executors, trustees and other personal representatives. Spend some time and fill it carefully. If you aren’t sure about some particular information, better to leave it blank instead of giving false or misleading information. Remember you shouldn’t hide anything from your lawyer. c) Carry Copies Of Important Documents: You may be required to send information to the lawyer’s office prior to the meeting. Collect these documents and bring them with you for the meeting. The documentation would include copies of current wills or trusts, deeds to all real property, life insurance policies, previous gift tax returns, trust agreements and public benefits. Or any other related documents, such as your birth certificate, age proof, income proof and any letter of notification from concerned office. d) Organize: Once you collect all the documents, you must make sure that you organize them in a good manner. This would save a lot of time on your behalf and let you meet your estates planning lawyer successfully. It is better to make a separate file or folder and keep them intact so that you can carry them safely whenever you go to meet your lawyer. In addition to that make sure you do proper verification or investigation before appointing any lawyer. It would be beneficial to prepare a list of questions, whatever comes in your mind, before meeting to lawyer. Never hesitate to ask them no matter how silly they may seem. This would help you clear all your doubts and make your meeting comfortable.
Once you have selected a lawyer for your estate planning, always be transparent, show utmost faith and trust your lawyer. Remember that your estate planning lawyer is working for you and with you. You must let him know the truth and adhere to all his advice. You must not waste your time, talking about things that do not matter to you and your estate planning. This would spoil the whole deal. If you would take care of these points, you are likely to get success in your estate planning or any other deal with your lawyer.