Twenty Questions You Should Ask An Estate Planning Attorney
© 2002 Jeffrey L. Knapp, Esq. ~ The Knapp Law Firm LLC
1. How do you define “Estate Planning?”
2. What percentage of your total legal work does Estate Planning represent?
3. In the past ten years, how many hours of Continuing Education have you devoted to Estate Planning?
4. In the past year, have you drafted at least one each of the following:
Revocable Living Trust? Charitable Remainder Trust?
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust? Charitable Foundation?
Family Limited Partnership? Limited Liability Company?
5. What is the proper chronology for making a Life Insurance Trust fully effective? (This can be expressed in twelve steps.)
6. How do you ensure that my assets will be used for my specific health care wishes, rather than being used for types of care that I do not want?
7. How do you ensure that married couples can maximize their applicable exclusion amount after New Jersey’s July 1, 2002 “uncoupling” tax law?
8. How do you ensure that assets pass in a protected manner, to a surviving spouse, children and/or other loved ones?
9. Where is my confidential financial information kept upon receipt?
10. Where are my file and documents kept and for what period of time?
11. Where has your office been located for the past ten/twenty years?
12. Where do you plan to be practicing law for the next ten/twenty/thirty years? (Depending on how long a relationship you seek.)
13. What is your back-up plan for your relocation, disability or death?
14. Has anyone ever filed an ethics complaint against you or your law firm?
15. What geographic area(s) do you draw estate planning clients from?
16. Have you authored or co-authored any books on estate planning?
17. What national experts would you call if I/we presented challenging issues in asset protection? In business succession? In charitable planning?
18. What is your formal updating program to help ensure that my/our Estate Plan stays current?
19. What have you done to explain the estate planning aspects of the new 2001 tax law and the 2010 carryover basis debacle to your existing clients?
20. What is the total projected cost of PLANNING AND SETTLING my/our estate, including estate tax, inheritance tax and executor fees?