If you live in the Colorado Springs or Denver area and have recently decided to hire an estate planning lawyer, give yourself a pat on the back. The decision to begin the estate planning process is often very difficult for many people, and simply deciding to speak to a lawyer is something most people never actually do.
Now that you have taken the first step you will want to take the time to find a lawyer that fits you and your needs. The fact is, no two lawyers are the same. You need a local estate planning lawyer who can give you the advice you need and help you craft a plan that suits your purposes. Here is a short list of questions to ask your estate planning attorney when you go in for your first initial consultation.
Tell me about yourself.
Think of your first meeting with your estate planning lawyer as a job interview. You are there to determine if the lawyer has what it takes. Start by asking the attorney to explain what his or her background is. What you are looking for here is an attorney who has extensive experience in the estate planning field.
Even though attorneys can be licensed to practice law in Colorado, that doesn’t mean every attorney is suitable to advise you about estate planning. You want a lawyer who spends the most of his or her time focusing on estate planning issues and helping clients create estate plans.
Tell me about your process.
Estate planning doesn’t typically involve going to court, filing lawsuits, or engaging in many of the other processes that you might expect if, for example, you get sued. Estate planning is about preparation. This preparation can take several stages and proceed differently depending on the type of process the attorney uses. You will want to know how your estate planning lawyer goes through this process. For example, some lawyers will primarily work with you over the phone, while others will expect you to interact with members of their staffs in many situations.
Tell me what you expect of me.
Estate planning lawyers are busy people. Even though they may not be on the phone with their clients all the time, they are performing their duties to best meet their clients’ interests. You want to talk to your attorney and ask what your responsibility will be during the estate planning process. For example, some attorneys will expect you to gather all the pertinent information and send it to them as soon as possible. Others will mail you key documents and will expect you to respond in a reasonable time. You want to be sure that the attorney’s process is something you are comfortable with, and something you can work into your own busy schedule.