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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Preparing to Meet your Estate Planning Attorney

We understand that taking the steps to go see an estate planning attorney can be a difficult one.  I mean, who wants to think about the possibility of dying?  No one.  However, taking this first step can protect your family and make it easier on them.  Once you have made this step, we want to make things as easy as possible.  Before you come, you should gather the following information, and you will be completely prepared for your appointment.
  • Family Information.  You will want the names, birth dates, and current addresses for all immediate family members or anyone that may be included in your will or power of attorney.  If any of your children have special needs, you should also bring information relating to their lifetime financial needs.
  • Property Information.  Do you own a piece of land?  A second house?  Any information you can provide about real estate property, including their values and address, should be brought with you.  Also, if you have an personal objects, such as vehicles, jewelery, coins, antiques, etc., you should make a list of them.  Include a description, a physical location and any other important information in your list.
  • Business Information.  Like properties, if you own a business bring in information about this and think about who it should be passed to.
  • Financial Information.  Compile a list of all financial accounts (checking, savings, investments, stocks and bonds, like insurance policies, pensions, IRAs, etc.).  Make sure you have account names, numbers, current balances, and designated beneficiaries.  Oftentimes your lawyer will need proof of this information, so consider bringing your most recent financial statements to your appointment.
  • Old Documents.  If you already have a will, power of attorney, or trust, bring these old documents in with you.
While gathering this information, you might want to start thinking about thsee questions.  You don’t need to have answers ready for your appointment, but some of these questions can be complex and you may want to think through the issues before your appointment.
  • Who will be beneficiaries to your property?
  • Do you want bequeath to a specific item(s) to a specific individual(s)?
  • Is there anyone you do not want to be a beneficiary to your property?
  • Do you plan on making bequests to any nonprofit organizations?
  • Who do you want to act as executor of your will?  What about as trustee of a trust, if you establish any?  Or as guardians for any minors?
During your initial consultation, your estate planning attorney will review all of these things, as well as discuss your wishes, answer your questions, and suggest strategies to protect you and your family.

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