Top Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Lawyer
The Northwest Calgary wills and estates lawyers at Dukeshire Law Office have been providing estate planning services to clients since 1977.
If you are looking for a wills and estates lawyer in Northwest Calgary or are wondering whether you need estate planning services, then this post is for you. Here are some of the top questions to ask a wills and estates lawyer to decide if it is the right fit and how the lawyer can help you, followed by some key questions to ask at the outset to clarify your estate planning goals. If you have questions or are wondering how our wills and estates lawyers can help you achieve your estate planning goals, call us today to schedule a consultation.
Top questions to ask when contemplating estate planning services
Northwest Calgary wills and estates lawyers at our firm recommend asking the following questions when contemplating hiring an estate planning lawyer:
• Does your practice focus primarily on estate planning?
You want an experienced lawyer who is up-to-date on wills and estates law and skilled at anticipating future needs and foreseeing risks, not a lawyer who dabbles in wills drafting.
• What are your initial thoughts on my estate planning needs?
Estate planning can be complex, or it can be relatively simple, depending on the size of your estate and your wishes. Once you have given a brief overview of your circumstances to the lawyer, ask this question to determine whether the lawyer’s initial plan lines up with what you are expecting. If it doesn’t, ask why.
• How much do you charge?
Ask how much the lawyer charges for a Will, and for other estate planning documents such as Powers of Attorney (POA) or Personal Directives (PD). The price can vary greatly from lawyer to lawyer. Be wary if the lawyer’s fee is particularly low or extremely high.
• How long do you estimate the process will take, from initial meeting to finalizing my estate plan?
The lawyer should provide you with an estimate of the time it will take to prepare and execute your estate plan. If you have urgent needs (for example, illness, surgery, or upcoming travel), discuss that with the lawyer at the outset.
You may also want to consider if the lawyer provides probate services (in other words, whether they assist with the management and distribution of estates, including providing legal advice to executors, trustees and beneficiaries). Have a look at our NW Calgary wills and estates lawyers’ discussion of the role of a probate lawyer. A lawyer who provides probate services will have specialized knowledge of the process, risks, and practicalities that arise when a person passes away – that experience gives them great foresight in the estate planning stage.
Top questions to ask at your first meeting with a wills and estates lawyer
Once you have called and arranged a meeting with a wills and estates lawyer, here are some top questions to ask to ensure your estate planning goals are met:
• What assets and debts need to be addressed in my estate plan? What can I do to minimize probate costs by having assets pass outside of my estate? (for example, holding title to property or bank accounts in joint tenancy; beneficiary designations).
• How do I choose the right executor? (for example, a friend or family member vs. a trust company or other professional). Should I have more than one executor?
• How do I choose the right guardian for my children or dependents? How can I ensure that expenses for the care and upbringing of my minor children will be met if I die?
• How often should I review my estate plan? What life events should trigger me to revisit my plan (for example, marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child).
• Where should I store my will, Power of Attorney, and/or Personal Directive? Who should know about my estate plan?
• If you are a business owner: How can I plan for the possibility of being unable to work due to an accident or illness, or make a retirement/succession plan? What happens to my business when I die?
• Depending on your personal circumstances, you may also want to talk to your wills and estates lawyer about a plan in the event that you die before your spouse – for example, ask what happens if your spouse remarries after your death? You may want to consider setting up a trust to ensure your estate goes to your children as opposed to your surviving spouse’s new partner.
• If you are already in a second marriage, what happens if you die first – do you want your estate to go to the children from your spouse’s first marriage?
These are just some examples of eventualities that an experienced wills and estates lawyer can help you identify and address. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share information with your estate planning lawyer.
Contact Dukeshire Law Office for estate planning services in Northwest Calgary
Wills and estates lawyers at Dukeshire Law Office offer a full range of estate planning services, as well as probate services. Our estates lawyers have years of experience and a deep commitment to providing clients with personalized guidance to identify estate planning needs and finding ideal solutions. If you are searching for estate planning services in Northwest Calgary, choose Dukeshire Law Office. Call 403-286-7008 today to schedule your initial consultation with our Northwest Calgary estate planning services professionals.