Settle a disputed trust agreement or set one up by hiring an experienced trust lawyer. To find one well-suited to your situation, ask them these questions.
Finding reputable trust lawyers is as difficult as navigating trust laws themselves. Never assume a lawyer, no matter how experienced, is suitable for your particular situation. To find one ready to tackle your trust agreement and estate-planning issues, ask these six questions.
Many attorneys have experience with trusts and estates, but if you have particularly trying terms to dispute or set up, an attorney needs to be focused on those kinds of issues. An attorney with years of focus on trusts likely has experienced many of the pitfalls that come with setting them up and maintaining them.
Because of the number of parties involved, trust and estate planning is never straightforward. Each scenario comes with its own unique hurdles. Make sure your trust lawyer has dealt with:
- Estate tax issues in different states
- IRS trust regulations
- Parties that disagree about terms
- Properly titling assets for a trust
Setting up a trust is only half the battle. Throughout your life, you may need to set up a guardianship for your children, create a living will, and set provisions for life insurance payouts. Each aspect must be outlined properly to be added to your trust. Along with a law degree, many trust lawyers are also certified financial planners, meaning they’re well-versed in every aspect of trusts.
If you have a living trust, you may also want to look into a will. Living trusts are flexible, but anything that isn’t in a trust should either be added to it or to a will. Because laws and taxes surrounding them differ, an experienced trust lawyer helps you figure out what to put where.
To budget for a trust attorney, it’s important to know how they will charge you. While many charge flat fees for different services, additional services may be charged hourly. Make sure your potential trust lawyer outlines what flat fees don’t cover and when hourly rates come into play. This way, you won’t be surprised by extra fees.
Trust lawyers are privy to their clients’ most sensitive information: their personal histories, financial details, and any family issues. Trusting your lawyer is as important as their credentials. If you don’t feel confident in their discretion, you may hold back details they need to know. Missing and inaccurate information kills otherwise well-planned trusts.
These questions will help you find reputable trust lawyers, but never be afraid to ask more. Keep in constant contact and always be straightforward about your needs. Together, you and your trust lawyer will ensure your trust benefits your family for years to come.