Understanding the importance of having a solid plan in place, we reached out to Kelly Fayer, attorney at The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A., and asked her to share some insight on estate planning and selecting an attorney that is a good fit for you and your family. Kelly will be presenting in an upcoming Noteworthy Afternoons series session, hosted by The Preserve, where she will discuss how to provide for your loved ones in your absence. Learn more about estate planning and how it benefits your family:
Should You Speak to An Estate Planning Attorney?
Having estate planning documents in place allows YOU to determine how your family is provided for in your absence and designate who will make decisions for you if you are unable to care for yourself. The consequences of not planning can be devastating to your family and could create additional stress and the unnecessary expense of dealing with the court system.
Before deciding, here are some points to consider:
- What if you have no estate planning documents… Who will make medical or financial decisions when you are unable?
- What if you have estate planning documents from another state… Are they valid in Florida?
- What if you have estate planning documents made prior to October 2011… Did you know the laws changed regarding powers of attorney for finances?
- What if you have estate planning documents with outdated information… Will your estate be handled the way you wish?
- What if you have beneficiaries who receive government benefits… Will they be disqualified from receiving those benefits if they receive an inheritance?
- What if you have beneficiaries with creditor issues… Can you protect their inheritance?
- What if you wish to care for minor children… Do you have arrangements made for their care?
Consulting with the right attorney can help you answer these questions and provide for the well-being of your family.
Selecting an Estate Planning Attorney
Ask lots of questions before selecting the right Estate Planning Attorney. You don’t want to end up in the office of an attorney who can’t help you. Start with the initial phone call. It is not unusual to speak only to a secretary, receptionist or office manager during an initial call or before actually meeting with the attorney. If so, ask this person your questions. Suggested questions include:
- How long has the attorney been in practice?
- Does his/her practice emphasize a particular area of law?
- How long has he/she been in this field?
- What percentage of his/her practice is devoted to estate planning law?
- Is there a fee for the first consultation and if so, how much is it?
- Given the nature of your situation, what information should you bring with you to the initial consultation?
The answers to your questions will assist you in determining whether that particular attorney has those qualifications important to you for a successful attorney/client relationship. If you have a specific legal issue that requires immediate attention, be sure to inform the office of this during the initial telephone conversation.
Make it a Good Experience
A positive and open relationship between attorney and client benefits everyone. The key to obtaining this is communication. Communication starts with asking the kinds of questions contained in this article. Use the answers to the questions as a guide not only to the attorney’s qualifications, but also as a way of determining whether you can comfortably work with this person. If your concerns are not valued, if you don’t like the answers to these questions, if you don’t like the attorney’s reaction to being asked all those questions, or if you simply do not feel relaxed with this particular person, DO NOT HIRE THAT PERSON. Only if you are satisfied with the attorney you have hired from the very start will you trust him or her to do the best job for you. Only if you have established a relationship of open communication will you be able to resolve any difficulties which may arise between the two of you. If you take the time to make sure that you are happy right from the beginning you can make this a productive experience for both you and the attorney. You will thank yourself, and your attorney will thank you.
Kelly L. Fayer, The Law Office of Kelly L. Fayer, P.A.. Kelly strives to offer peace of mind through legal services developed to help maintain independence and protect assets.