Since a lawyer will need certain information to write a will, there are several steps you can take before the first interview to save time and expense.
• Make a list of everything you own including all valuables, property you own or which will belong to your estate at the time of your death, bank accounts, insurance policies and pensions;
• Make a list of jointly owned items;
• Consider or write down what you want your will to contain, including who is to get what, whom you want to act as your executor, and any special bequests of gifts you may have in mind;
• Obtain and list the names, addresses and occupations of the people named in the will;
• Consider discussing your plans with your family and anyone you wish to appoint as executor, guardian or trustee under the will.
During your first appointment, you should discuss:
• Availability of legal aid;
• How and what you will be charged;
• When you will be billed and what disbursements (out-of-pocket expenses) you may be charged in addition to the fees. You are paying for your lawyer’s time. Therefore, the less time you use, the less it will cost.
Here are some points on keeping costs down:
• Get all of your papers and documents together and organized prior to the appointment;
• Stick to the facts;
• Ask questions when you don’t understand;
• Ask what you can do to reduce your costs.