What to Discuss with Your Estate Planning Attorney

Taking charge of your estate plan ensures that you’re prepared for the future, and helps provide for your surviving loved ones. If you’ve never worked with an estate planning attorney, however, you might not realize what kind of questions they might ask and information they may need.

Before you meet with your attorney, you should set some basic goals (for example, planning for retirement or providing for minor children if you pass away unexpectedly). Here’s what to consider before you meet with your lawyer:

  • Your marital status and history: If you’re currently or were formerly married, list those partners and any children you have together. Include the dates of marriage and divorce for clarity’s sake.
  • Your heirs: Make a list of all your potential heirs. For most people, this is their spouse, children and grandchildren. Even if you’re estranged from a child and/or grandchildren, include them on the list. Similarly, if you adopted a child or gave a child up for adoption, they could be a potential heir.
  • Your previous estate plans: If you’ve created a prior estate plan, whether on your own or with a different attorney, bring it with you, or write down as much information as you can remember about the date of execution and its contents.
  • Your assets and debts: You’ll need to be completely open about all of your assets and debts. This ensures that your lawyer has a complete picture of your estate. Assets may include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and more.
  • Health information: Health issues can impact how your estate plan is structured. Your lawyer needs to know whether you have any health problems, as well as whom you’d like to put in charge of making healthcare decisions if you’re incapacitated.
  • Your end-of-life wishes: Consider what kind of funeral or end-of-life arrangements you’d prefer. If you’ve pre-paid for funeral arrangements, bring the paperwork.
  • Who might contest your estate plan: Finally, think about who might contest your estate plan. For instance, if you don’t plan to leave anything to your estranged child, your lawyer needs to know. Unfortunately, death can bring out strong emotions, especially when high-value estates are at stake.

James Bart Leonardi, LLC can help you create a comprehensive estate plan. For more information about what kind of information we’ll need to create your plan, call today.

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