When looking for a lawyer to handle your estate, finance and tax related matters, you must be extremely careful. The reason is that these matters are crucial and you must be careful when handling them for your own good. Next, you should hire an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who regularly handles matters in the areas of concern in your particular situation, e.g. expertise in the area of trusts, estates or estate planning.
First and foremost, you must make a long list of questions you need to ask from your estate planning lawyer. There is nothing special about these questions; they can be anything that may come in your mind. This would help you screening and narrowing down your selection out of a few lawyers you meet and ask questions.
Remember that asking questions from an estate planning lawyer, prior to taking his or her assistance, is extremely important. In case, you are confused about what questions to ask your estate planning lawyer, here are some guidelines for you:
a) How long have you specialized in this type of law? This is an important question to ask because in case the lawyer you have chosen has recently switched from probate to criminal law, and you are looking out for a criminal lawyer, you need an experienced lawyer. Hence, it is necessary to ask the lawyer about the number of years he has been practicing in the field; you are recruiting him or her for. As far as possible, go for a specialized and experienced lawyer who has been in the field for quite some time now and has a good track record of handling and wining such cases.
b) What are your fees? Since, you would not like to go bankrupt for hiring an estate planning lawyer for yourself, you need to ask the lawyer about the fees he or she would charge from you. Never go for a lawyer who is not clear about the cost of services he or she would render you. The lawyer may not be able to offer you the accurate price of certain expenses as copying, telephone, postage etc, but you must insist on a rough estimate of his fees in writing. This would help you to stick to your budget and avoid any inconvenience in the future.
c) What are the chances of success for my case? This is an important question that you need to ask when hiring an estate planning lawyer. You would certainly like to know how strong your case is and whether the money invested would bear effective results for you. If possible ask for references and contact them to know the actual truth.
d) Would you be in touch with me on a regular basis? You must ask an estate planning lawyer about how regular he or she would be in updating you with the status of your case. You must take special care in receiving your monthly phone call, email or letters.
e) What is the likely course of my case? Your estate planning lawyer must be in a position to offer you a clear outline of what to expect in your case. It would be prudent to sketch a timeline of your project and plan accordingly.
Similarly, you can prepare a list of other questions related to your exact situation and case. Last but not the least; you should make sure that whomever you hire might have to delegate a lot of responsibility to his or her staff. His staff must be co-operative and friendly who listens to you and your problems. After all, you need a human not a machine who treats you humanly. Though, most lawyers, especially estate and taxation lawyers are very busy professionals, but at a minimum, you should expect to be treated courteously and professionally both by the staff and by the lawyer.