You have decided it is time to begin estate planning. You have called a dedicated, local estate planning attorney and made an initial appointment. You have taken a valuable step towards putting critical legal protections in place that will safeguard and promote your wishes for a future you want for both you and your loved ones. Congratulations! Now that the initial appointment has been set, you are probably wondering what is on the horizon of your estate planning journey. Well, prior to your initial estate planning attorney meeting there are a number of things you can and should do in order to make that initial meeting as productive as possible.
Preparing for your Initial Estate Planning Attorney Meeting
It is likely that, in anticipation of your initial estate planning meeting, your attorney has sent you an intake questionnaire to complete. Such an intake form is used to give your attorney a clearer picture of both your family structure as well as your financial situation, both of which are critical components to consider in estate planning. With a comprehensive and completed intake form, your initial estate planning meeting can be set up for maximized productivity. The initial form itself will cover many of the initial and time-consuming questions that could otherwise dominate that first meeting.
Much of the intake questionnaire as well as that initial meeting with your estate planning attorney will involve a close look at some rather extensive financial data. Your estate planning attorney will need to understand the full breadth and scope of your financial situation. Completing the financial data questions on the intake form will help with this as will gathering the necessary supporting financial documents. While your attorney may not require producing your financial documents at the initial meeting, it is still a good idea to gather them because they will be needed sooner rather than later.
Some necessary documentation you should gather ahead of your estate planning meeting may include:
- Banking statements
- Real estate deeds
- Business agreements
- Stock certificates
- Investment account statements
- Life insurance policy information
Additionally, if you have ever previously executed any estate planning documents, then you should be sure to bring these to your initial estate planning meeting. Such documents may include a will, trust, powers of attorney, or advanced health care directives. If you are revising estate plans as opposed to establishing an estate plan for the first time, there are likely legal guidelines that must be properly observed in order for amendments to your estate plan to be valid.
Additionally, if you have any divorce or prenuptial agreements in place, these may also be relevant to the estate planning process. Your estate plan should fall in line with the mandates of such agreements. It is not uncommon for these agreements to include promises of leaving certain assets to the other party to the agreement in something like your will or other estate planning tool.
Estate Planning Attorneys
The trusted estate planning attorneys at Jones, Gregg, Creehan & Gerace will be by your side every step of the estate planning journey. Contact us today.