An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Selecting the Right Estate Planning Attorney

February 14, 2024
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For affluent entrepreneurs, selecting the right estate planning attorney is a critical decision. The right legal guidance can not only protect your wealth, but also the legacy left for future generations. An estate planning attorney’s role is to provide guidance on securing assets, supporting loved ones, and protecting long-term goals. Here are key considerations and questions to ask when choosing an estate planning attorney.

 Joint vs. Individual Representation

You first must decide whether a single attorney will representing both you and your spouse. Or, you may realize individual representation for each of you is more suitable. Joint representation ensures transparency but may lead to complex situations, while individual representation offers privacy and protects individual interests.

Protection in Estate Plan Amendments

Inquire about how one spouse is protected if the other wishes to amend the estate plan. Understand the provisions for amendments, especially regarding separate property and community assets.

Surviving Spouse’s Authority

Ask about the surviving spouse’s ability to alter the estate plan after the first spouse’s death. Understand the implications of various trust structures and the power of appointment provisions.

Attorney’s Specialization and Credentials

Ensure the attorney specializes in estate planning and has experience in dealing with cases similar to yours. As an entrepreneur, your estate planning needs are more complex. Your business assets, leadership role and other factors will need to be considered as part of your overall estate plan. Confirm that the attorney regularly works with clients who have similar financial and legal complexities, especially if your estate involves special assets or is subject to specific taxes.

Complementary Specializations

Consider if the attorney’s firm offers complementary specializations that might be beneficial for your unique situation, such as cross-border or private equity expertise.

Project Timeline and Responsiveness

Discuss the expected timeline for completing your estate planning and the attorney’s availability, especially during busy periods or when tax laws are changing.

Support Team and Succession Plan

Understand the scope of the attorney’s team and their succession plan. This ensures continuity and comprehensive support for your estate planning needs.

Responsibility for Estate Plan Upkeep

Clarify who is responsible for the regular review and updating of your estate plan. Ensure coordination between your attorney, accountant, and financial advisor for a cohesive strategy.

Interviewing multiple candidates is crucial to find the right fit for your family’s needs. With the right estate planning attorney, you can navigate the complexities of wealth transfer and secure your family’s future.

You will want to follow similar steps when selecting a financial advisor or wealth management provider. You must take the right steps to protect you and your business, while also planning for an uncertain future ahead. For all your financial planning needs, contact Illumination Wealth.