The prospect of putting together your estate plan can seem overwhelming, particularly if it is your first time doing so. There will be terminology to understand and information to gather, to be sure. Keep focused on the fact that putting your estate plan in place means that you are establishing vital protections for a future you want for yourself and your loved ones. Furthermore, there is a lot you can do to help prepare for the process and make the initial meeting with your attorney much more productive. To help you start the process on the right foot, we will walk you through some of the important information and documentation you will want to bring to your initial estate planning meeting.
What to Bring to Your Initial Estate Planning Meeting
Information about your family members and financial situation will play a critical role in the estate planning process. While not all of this is necessarily needed at the outset, it will be needed eventually and, the sooner, the better. For starters, it is likely that your estate planning attorney will have an intake questionnaire for you to complete and bring to your initial meeting. Complete this document in full as it covers much of the information that will be needed to start the process and will enable your initial meeting to be productive. Much of it is basic information you can provide so that you do not have to spend valuable time during that first meeting reviewing things like the names and contact information of your family members.
Much of the intake questionnaire is also likely to request information regarding your financial situation. As you complete this section of the questionnaire, it may also be a good time to gather documentation that will be needed during the estate planning process. Here are some of the financial documentation you will likely need to gather:
- Real estate deeds for all property that you own to show how the title is held (this will also be necessary if you plan on transferring real property into a trust)
- Bank account statements that include institution names and account balances
- Investment account statements that include the type of account and balances
- Business agreements showing any ownership interests you may have any entities or companies that you are involved in
- Intellectual property registration certificates (including those for trademarks, patents, and copyrights you may hold)
- Stock certificates (which will be necessary in order to transfer stocks into a trust)
- Life insurance policy information
- Timeshare interests including contracts or related deeds
- Any previously executed estate planning documents (including, but not limited to, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and advanced health care directives)
- Prenuptial agreements, property settlement agreements, postnuptial agreements, and any other contracts that may impact your estate plans (such as a contract with a provision explicitly promising that you will leave someone an asset in your will)
As previously stated, this is just some of the documentation you should consider bringing to your initial estate planning meeting. Your attorney might request additional information based upon your particular situation. The basics though will help your attorney understand your financial situation and properly design an estate plan that meets your needs and objectives.
Estate Planning Attorney
For dedicated assistance throughout the estate planning process, you can count on E.A. Goodman Law. Contact us today.
Posted in: Estate Planning