cheshire county nh court house, estate planning probate law

FAQs

At Norton & Abert, P.C., our law practice is limited to:

Although we certainly hope that the following frequently asked questions and answers are helpful to you, please remember that this is just basic information, not legal advice. We would be happy for you to contact us directly, by calling our office at (603) 355-8858, to make an appointment to talk to one of our attorneys for legal advice. An attorney-client relationship is only formed after we have confirmed that we do not have any conflicts of interest in representing you and you have signed a fee agreement with the firm that confirms the basic terms of our engagement.

1. What should I expect when I make an appointment with an attorney?
2. What if I just need a simple Will, do you prepare those?
3. I need a Power of Attorney over my parent. Can you do that for me?
4. My parent just died. What should I do?
5. How much will it cost?
6. My parent has an appointment with you, can I come to the meeting too?
7. Do you represent clients with dementia?
8. Do you really have dogs in your office?

1. What should I expect when I make an appointment with an attorney?
First, we have to determine whether any conflicts of interest exist that would prohibit us from representing you, so a staff member will need to know your name, and the names of other persons involved in your matter. In order to be able to advise you, we will need to have complete information regarding you and your matter. We will send you packet of information including a detailed Questionnaire to fill out and return before we meet. It's important to fill out the Questionnaire even if you think it doesn't apply to you. There may be facts affecting your matter that you are not aware of (and we may not be either until you tell us). Rest assured that your information is kept strictly confidential in accordance with our Privacy Policy, and the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding attorney-client confidentiality. Enclosed in your packet will be a fee agreement to sign and return to our office. This explains the nature of our relationship with you and how we bill.

2. What if I just need a simple Will, do you prepare those?
We do prepare Wills for clients, but during your appointment, we must first listen to you to understand your overall legal needs and desires, and will recommend an estate plan appropriate for your specific circumstances. No estate plan is "one size fits all," so we are careful not to recommend a specific plan for you until we have discussed your financial and family circumstances in person. There may well be circumstances that a "simple Will" won't work or is not the best - or easiest - way to accomplish your goals. Our lawyers will prepare estate planning documents that will meet your specific situation in the event you should die or become incapacitated.

3. I need a Power of Attorney over my parent. Can you do that for me?
The person over whom you are seeking the General Durable Power of Attorney must sign the document him- or herself, so that person would have to be our client. We must meet with her or him privately to determine that signing this Power of Attorney is his or her wish. Your parent must also have the mental capacity to sign this or any other document. If you wish to take action on behalf of a person who no longer has the ability to understand or communicate, it may be necessary to go to court to become a Guardian. A Guardianship can be a very complicated and difficult legal proceeding. If you are already acting on behalf of a parent or anyone else, our lawyers can assist by explaining your duties and responsibilities.

4. My parent just died. What should I do?
First, we understand that you will need time to grieve with your family. Double check that all information on the death certificate is accurate and order several of them. Then, locate your parent's estate planning legal documents, if you believe that there were any, and get his or her financial information together. Our law office can provide a checklist to help you keep track of what to look for. Whether or not your parent had a Will, a Trust, or no documents at all, we can help you with the steps needed to determine what legal action, if any, is needed next. We also advise Trustees of Trusts after the death of the person who established the Trust and our attorneys can assist you with administration of the Trust as well.

5. How much will it cost?
It is impossible to determine, without meeting you and reviewing your situation, what types of documents or actions your attorney will recommend for you, and therefore we are not able to estimate how much your legal matter will cost over the telephone when you first call.

6. My parent has an appointment with you, can I come to the meeting too?
Generally, no. It is not recommended that family members come to an estate planning meeting with a client for the initial appointment. If other family members are in the room, there might appear to be undue influence, and there will certainly be a loss of attorney-client privilege. Depending on the circumstances, with the client's permission, we sometimes will allow you to attend for a more general discussion. Even then you may be asked to leave the meeting from time to time so we can talk alone with your parent.

7. Do you represent clients with dementia?
Sometimes. If a person has enough mental capacity to hire an attorney and discuss his or her estate planning wishes with the attorney, then we may be able to represent the client. However, if the person's dementia has progressed to the point where he or she cannot meaningfully understand the estate planning process or express thoughts clearly, it is not likely that we will be able to represent that person directly. We may, however, represent the incapacitated person's agent under a General Durable Power of Attorney, or that person's legal Guardian.

8. Do you really have dogs in your office?
Yes we do, and they are very friendly! In fact, if you have a dog or other beloved pet, we can help with estate planning to take care of your pet after your death, such as through a "Pet Trust."