As you consider your estate planning needs, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is the Power of Attorney. Simply put, this legal document allows you to ensure that your wishes are upheld, even if you become incapacitated by accident, injury, or illness.
A Power of Attorney lawyer can help you put this document in place, and also clarify any questions you may have about how it works. We’d encourage you to be judicious in selecting the right legal professional to help with your Power of Attorney and estate planning needs. Specifically, we’d recommend interviewing a potential lawyer before choosing to hire them.
In order to get to know an attorney, consider asking some of the following questions.
1) How long have you been practicing law in this state?
You have every right to know the experience level your lawyer brings to the table. Note that laws concerning your Power of Attorney and estate planning vary by state, so it’s really important to inquire about their experience locally.
2) Does your practice focus on estate planning?
It’s generally best to work with a specialist. You wouldn’t hire an estate planning lawyer to help with your criminal defense, or your car accident case. So, don’t hire a criminal defense or personal injury lawyer to help with your financial Power of Attorney.
3) Do you recommend a medical Power of Attorney? A financial Power of Attorney? Both?
There’s not necessarily one right answer here; or, rather, the answer will vary from one person to the next, depending on their estate planning needs and goals. However, asking this question is a good way to get your attorney talking, and to get a feel for how they communicate about legal issues.
4) What about an advanced healthcare directive?
A Power of Attorney is one way to prepare for end-of-life care scenarios. But you may also benefit from having an advanced healthcare directive in place. Again, the goal of asking this question is just to hear the attorney share some of their expertise.
5) Can you also help with wills, living trusts, etc.?
Estate planning isn’t only a matter of end-of-life planning. You’ll also want to think about things like tax strategy, avoiding probate court, and maximizing the value of the assets you leave behind. Ask your attorney how they can help with all of this.
6) How often should we talk?
Estate planning isn’t something you do and then forget. It’s really best to review your plan every year or so, and also any time you have a major life change. You may also need to revise your plan from time to time. Make sure you find the right Power of Attorney lawyer to help with this.
7) How will you bill me?
It’s always wise to be up-front in talking about the financial arrangement your lawyer will expect. Make sure you hire a firm that will deal with you honestly and transparently.
There are a number of complexities involving estate planning and Powers of Attorney. As you consider your own estate planning needs, we’d highly recommend that you enlist a qualified attorney.
At Singh Law Firm, we would love to answer any questions you may have about our experience, or about what we can do to help you establish a durable Power of Attorney.
To set up a time to speak with us, reach out to Singh Law Firm in Fremont, California at your next opportunity.