When you are ready to hire an estate planning attorney, it is important to find one who takes a holistic approach, one who will listen and who will ask the right questions to get to know you and your particular family situation. Attorneys who take this approach are better at:
- Learning about your family dynamic
- Understanding your long-term goals
- Determining the true value of your assets
- Preventing problems that can arise
Learning About Your Family Dynamic
Each family is unique, and each family has its own set of estate planning needs. An estate planning attorney who takes a holistic approach will not only listen but will also take time to determine whether you need special provisions, for example trust language for disabled beneficiaries. She will also help you craft a plan to get your assets to your intended beneficiaries when the time is right, such as delaying distribution to young adults until they mature enough to be fiscally responsible.
Understanding Your Long-Term Goals
The most successful estate plans incorporate long-term goals so that the client will need to make fewer changes in the future. It is important that your attorney takes the time to consider long-term goals and legacy, rather than only considering will benefit you in the here and now. A smart estate plan that incorporates long-term goals can save you time and money.
Determining the True Value of Your Assets
There are many tools that an attorney can use to measure the value of an asset. While any estate planning attorney worth her salt will ascertain the market value of an asset, an attorney who takes a holistic approach spends time with you to assess the true value of that asset. She understands that what an asset means to you is an important part of the equation.
Preventing New Problems
When considering your current family situation, an estate planning attorney should be able to reasonably predict that certain events may be likely in the near future. For example, if you are a senior adult with chronic health problems, your attorney should speak with you about Medicaid planning and make recommendations designed to preserve your assets and put you in a position to qualify for Medicaid, if needed.
When you sign on the line and pay your hard-earned money to an estate planning attorney, make sure that she has taken time to learn about your family dynamic and to understand your long-term goals. Be sure that she gets to know you and what you truly value. Finally, make sure that you ask whether the estate plan she creates is forward-looking so that problems can be prevented and the need to revise your estate plan (in the near future) will be unlikely. Hiring an estate planning attorneys who take a holistic approach can save you valuable time and money.