Questions to Ask an Attorney During Estate Planning

Planning your estate may not be the easiest or most pleasant task to think about, but due to its far-reaching potential consequences, it can be among the most important.

In school we were all told, “There are no stupid questions,” and the same idea can be applied in this environment. Fully understanding the process will help you feel more comfortable and your attorney provide better service. Here are some things to consider asking your attorney during the estate planning process.

How long have you been in practice, does your practice focus on a particular area, what is your fee structure (and other similar questions)?

One of the most important factors when choosing an elder law attorney is your comfort in working with them. Asking these and similar questions can be a good way to learn more about the person who will be assisting you with sensitive and important matters.

Do I need a revocable living trust or durable power of attorney?

These documents primarily name someone who will be able to make certain financial decisions for you. But they can also serve different purposes which should be fully discussed with and explained by your attorney.

How do I ensure my wishes regarding artificial life support are followed?

Even if a family member knows your wishes regarding end of life care, they cannot make these decisions if you become incapacitated without a valid health care proxy, MOLST form, or court order.

My spouse, child, sibling, etc., are not elderly, but disabled. Can you help with that?

Many elder law attorneys, including those at Abraham & Bauer provide representation inn disability cases in addition to estate planning. We can assist with establishing trusts, applying for governmental assistance, having the court appoint a guardian, and many other related matters.

What can we do to best manage my money?

The State of Maryland and the Federal government both have placed taxes on certain inheritances. Your attorney will be able to advise on how to ensure your hard earned assets go to your loved ones. There are also certain governmental assistance programs such as Medicaid with income thresholds. An attorney familiar with the area can also help ensure you do not run afoul of these restrictions.

When do I need to update my will?

So long as you are mentally competent a properly drafted will can be executed at any time. Realistically this means you only need to update this document after life changing events such as marriage, the death of an immediate family member, or a significant change in assets.

This list is far from exhaustive, especially as each case an elder law attorney takes is unique.

Abraham & Bauer firmly believe in both educating and serving our clients so feel free to read our other articles and schedule a consultation to discuss how we can help you today.

Estate planning is a gift to your loved ones!