Creating an Estate Plan: How to Prepare for a Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney

Posted on: 15 September 2023


While estate planning might not be a top priority for everyone, it remains crucial in guaranteeing the well-being of your assets and loved ones after you pass away. Taking the necessary steps to prepare ensures that your legacy is protected and your wishes honored. Meeting an estate planning attorney may seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. With the right approach, it can be a manageable and productive experience. This post discusses how to prepare for a meeting with an estate planning attorney, what documents you need, and what questions to ask.

1. Define Your Objectives:

Before meeting with an estate planning attorney, it's crucial to proactively establish your objectives. This preparation will ensure a smoother and more effective consultation process. Some of the questions you should ask yourself include:

  • What are my assets, and how do I want them distributed?
  • Who will take care of my children and manage their assets, should I die prematurely?
  • Who will make decisions on my behalf if I am incapacitated and unable to make decisions for myself?
  • Do I have charitable intentions, and if so, how do I want to incorporate them?

2. Gather Your Documents:

Before heading to a meeting with an estate planning attorney, it is essential to gather all of your relevant documents. Some of the documents that you should bring include:

  • Your will, if you have one
  • Trust documents if you have created a trust
  • Your wealth portfolio encompasses various assets such as real estate properties, bank accounts, investments, and retirement funds.
  • Insurance policies you hold, including life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance
  • Any corporate documents, partnership agreements, or business agreements you have

3. Prepare for Questions to Ask Your Estate Planning Attorney:

Some questions that you could ask the attorney include:

  • What are the different types of trusts, and which is best?
  • How often should I update my estate plan?
  • What happens if I die intestate (without a will)?
  • How will my estate taxes be calculated, and how can I minimize the taxes due?
  • What happens if I become incapacitated, and how do I choose someone to make decisions?

After meeting with the estate planning attorney, ensure you address all necessary action items. This may involve reviewing drafts of planning documents, updating beneficiary designation forms, or transferring assets to a trust. Your attorney can also recommend a team of professionals (accountant, life insurance agent, trust administrator) to collaborate for your benefit.

Preparing for an estate planning attorney meeting is crucial for an effective estate plan. Define objectives, gather documents, compile questions, and consider options. Implement attorney recommendations, revise plans regularly, and update relevant documents. Work alongside your attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan for the care of your assets and loved ones after you pass.