1) When I need the professional, will they be there? If they are approximately your age, the chances are significantly increased that they may NOT be there for your family. It may be better to use a professional that is younger than you because when you have problems, they are more likely not to be having the same problems.
2) What kind of unique qualifications does the professional have? If they are a member of an organization, then research that organization and determine for yourself the nature of the organization. Ask yourself what are the actual requirements to become a member. If the professional has unique academic credentials that set them apart, find out what it takes to earn those credentials. Discover how many years have they been doing this work? Is this kind of work the only type of work they do?
3) How do they charge? Fixed fee, hourly or projected fee. Do they offer a complimentary consultation? How many meetings will you be able to meet with the professional? Will you get a review session?
4) Who will draft the documents?
5) Does the professional have a web site? If yes and there is content, you may be able to learn a bit before you even meet. When you do meet, find out how the professional works. Ask them for referrals. Ask them how they get most of their business. Is it through referrals or through other means?
And so…the moral of the story is . . . when you take positive steps to ensure your wishes will be carried out and you are ready to protect your family, take some time to consider the above questions. It will serve you well.
Mark F. Winn