While it may be a bit time-consuming, being prepared when you walk into a meeting with your estate planning attorney will ensure a quicker turnaround time for your estate planning documents. Here are some of the things that I think are helpful in meeting with your attorney:
- Think of a couple of people who you think would be capable of handling your estate (these people will be named as Personal Representative/Executor in your Will). Make sure to talk with them to see if they would be willing to take on this role.
- Think of a couple of people who you think would be capable of handling your financial affairs and/or health care decisions if you are unable to make the decisions yourself (these people will be named under your Power of Attorney). You will also want to talk with them to see fi they are willing to serve in this role if and when the time comes.
- Jot down a list of the people/charities that you want to name as a beneficiary of your estate.
- Make a list of all of your assets. Don’t forget to include all bank accounts, Certificates of Deposit, real estate, stocks, 401(k)s, Life Insurance Policies, etc.
- Make a list of all of your liabilities such as your mortgage, car loans, debts owed to individuals, loans on a 401(k), etc.
- Make a list of the names and contact information for your accountant, financial advisor, etc. I generally prefer to have this information in my file because after their death, if their executor/personal representative is unfamiliar with the decedent’s assets, these individuals can provide the necessary information and can save the personal representative a lot of time.
- You will also need to list of the names, addresses and birthdates of your children.
- If you have a minor child, you will want to think of a couple of people whom you trust to take care of your children in the event that you die before they are 18 years old. Again, make sure to speak with these individuals beforehand to see if they would be willing to serve as guardian. What you don’t want is to appoint someone to take care of your children who ultimately decides that they dont feel comfortable serving as guardian.
Finally, make a list of any questions you may have for your attorney. Together, these things will greatly assist your estate planning lawyer and will help make your initial consultation extremely productive.