Our Auckland Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers2018-09-25T17:45:50+12:00

Our Auckland Wills and Estate Planning Lawyers

Before you hire a lawyer to help you with your Wills and Estate Planning be sure you’ve considered the answers to these 7 questions

Wills

What kind of legal advice do I need?

You will need to determine how basic or specific the level of advice you require about investments or property holdings, guardianship of minor children, or care for elderly or disabled dependents.
Who you choose as a lawyer will depend on what type of advice you want. Not all lawyers are created equal. While you definitely want a lawyer who knows Wills, Trusts and Estates, a lawyer who knows other fields as well can be an added benefit. For example, if a person has extensive real estate holdings, their ideal lawyer should also know about property law.
Having an Auckland Wills and Estate Planning lawyer who knows enough about other relevant areas of law will help ensure that all actions being taken and documents being put into place will ultimately work together without conflict.

Does the lawyer specialize in Wills and Estate Planning?

Your Auckland Wills and Estate Planning lawyer should be able to help you:

  • Make a plan for what will happen to your property when you die (Wills and Trusts)
  • Plan for incapacity (Powers of Attorney and ‘Living Wills’)
  • Set up Trusts for loved ones
  • Manage ongoing Trusts
  • Help with probating estates

A lawyer who does not regularly prepare Wills and/or Estate Planning documents or represent clients in probate matters will be less likely to know the latest updates on the law, which can cause problems for you and your family members in the future.
Ask who will do the work. Anticipate that the Auckland Wills and Estate Planning lawyer you hire may delegate some work to their staff. Ask how much of the work the lawyer will do, and consider whether the answer is in line with your expectations.

What will happen during an initial meeting with the lawyer?

Regardless of the lawyer’s legal capabilities, feeling comfortable and confident with your lawyer is invaluable. You can really only determine this by meeting them and speaking face to face.
What you want from your first meeting with your Auckland Wills and Estate Planning lawyer is an ‘educational’ meeting. A good lawyer will educate you by walking you through the sorts of decisions you need to make and the consequences of each of the alternatives presented.
You want to leave this meeting with a clear action plan of what your next steps are to ensure your financial and legal affairs are set up the best possible way for you and your family.

How much will it cost?

You may have to pay for this guidance. Don’t be afraid to do that because it can be a hugely valuable education. They key is, you want to know what the cost is going to be upfront so there are no surprises. A good lawyer will work within your budget to provide as much assistance as possible at an affordable charge.
Lawyers generally bill in one of two ways. They may have a flat fee for each document prepared. In this case, you’ll want to know how much it will cost for each document you think you will need.
Alternatively, some charge by the hour. There may be a charge for their time and there may be separate charges for their paralegal assistant’s time (usually much less expensive). Ask for the breakdown in time charges between each of these professionals and an estimate, in writing, of the total time it will take for the lawyer to complete your estate plan. Ask them to give you an example of what their bill might look like.

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What if I want to make changes to my legal documents later?

All too often, people put in place legal documents and think “great, that’s done” or “now I don’t have to think about that anymore”. Then, the end of their life comes or a crisis pops up and their family finds out that the documents are out of date. Then all the ‘planning’ they think they have done fails.
Legal documents are not ‘set it and forget it’ documents. All Estate Planning documents, including Wills, are living documents that need to be reviewed and updated regularly throughout your life.
You need to find an Auckland Wills and Estate Planning law firm that will keep everything up to date for you, review your documents regularly, and offer a programme to provide you with continuing guidance on an ongoing basis. Our lawyers and solicitors will also be available to support your next of kin with your Will and Estate Administration upon your death.

Can I get help to make smart choices about all the other important things in life?

Your Auckland Wills and Estate Planning lawyer can and should help you make decisions not only about things like legal documents, but also about things like buying insurance, saving for university, planning for retirement and many of the other challenging decisions that will come up along your life’s journey.
This doesn’t mean your lawyer needs to be licensed to advise on or sell insurance or financial products or practice employment law. It just means that they have a big enough breadth of experience and knowledge that they can talk with you about these issues to help you avoid expensive mistakes. Or, at the very least, be able to refer you to the relevant people for specialist advice on these matters.

Will my dependents be taken care of by people I want in the way I want?

You want your Auckland Wills and Estate Planning lawyer to be able to provide you with a comprehensive plan for the care of minor children. You want them to be able to give you maximum assurance that your assets will be passed on to your dependents in such a way that when they do get control over them, they cannot lose them to a divorce or even a lawsuit filed against them.

Final things to remember

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions when looking for an Auckland Wills and Estate Planning lawyer. Hearing the right answers to these questions before you engage a lawyer to work on your Wills and Estate Planning will ensure you put in place legal planning for your family that will work when you need it.
Never treat Wills and Estate Planning as a ‘done-and-dusted’ task. Estate plans should be reviewed annually and adjusted for births, deaths, marital changes, health issues and other events that happen during the normal course of one’s life.
Though it takes time, organization and some money, it is well worth the effort for your own and your family members’ peace of mind.

For more information about the estate planning please read Estate planning and economic downturn article published in 2009.

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Wanting to find out more about your Wills and Estate Planning? Contact your Lawyers in Auckland today.

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        We are lawyers in Auckland, who provide practical legal services and conveyancing to a diverse range of New Zealand and overseas client needs. Centrally located in Remuera, Auckland, we look forward to working with you.

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        Our lawyers in Auckland provide practical legal services for a diverse range of client needs.

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