What should I ask of a prospective estate planning attorney?

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What should I ask of a prospective estate planning attorney?

I need a trust and I’ve talked to a few lawyers. Their fees vary widely. Is there anything I should be asking about their services that would help me make a decision about who to hire?

Asked on March 22, 2009 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

S.B.A., Member, California and Texas Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Why do I need a trust ?

What type of trust do I need ?

How much inheritance taxes would I be avoiding by a trust (and what is the name of that type of trust) ?  What other costs would the trust incur which would offset any taxes saved ?

How easy is it to add property or sell property which has been placed in a trust ?

Is the trust revocable or irrevocable ?  Can I change the beneficiaries, or am I locked in to my choices ?  How much control do I keep over my assets - can I still sell, withdraw, or gift them ?

Can I change trustee if I want ?

Who will administer my trust, and how much will they charge ?

Other than confidentiality (probate files are open to the public) and possibly lower taxes, what other advantage, to me, does a trust provide ?

Will my trust have to file a separate income tax return for any interest/capital gain earned ? When ?

Will putting my assets in a trust change the 'capital gain' basis and taxability of my assets ?

Do I still need a will for any other assets which may have been overlooked & not placed in the trust's name (cars, loans owed to me, small accounts, refunds, furniture, personal belongings such as guns, cameras, etc.).


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