Tips to Get the Most From Your Appointment

We all like to be prepared in new situations, whether it be starting a new job or going to the first meeting of the gardening club. Aside from making for a more comfortable experience, your time is valuable, and the more prepared you are for the adventure, the more you can take away from an experience. A visit to our office to discuss your estate planning is no exception. If you are going to spend your valuable time on a venture, wouldn’t you like to get the most out of it?

Every firm will be a bit different, but here are a few universal tips on how to be prepared and get the most out of your first visit to an estate planning attorney.

  1. Bring your financial statements. A large part of what an estate planning attorney does is to help you protect your assets. In order to do this, she needs to know what assets there are and what your general financial situation is. Having actual numbers, rather than vague ideas, is a huge help.
  2. Know how the deed to your home is held. For most people, their home is their largest asset. How title is held, and in what the state of ownership, will have a large part in deciding what your best course of action will be.
  3. Have some preliminary thoughts about who you may want to be your executor or health care agent. This may change once you know more about what these roles entail, but having one or two people as a starting point will speed the process considerably.
  4. Bring contact information for financial advisors with whom you work on a regular basis. Having your attorney work directly with your financial advisors, if any, is integral to having an airtight estate plan and financial plan. Not to mention that it makes things much easier on you to not have to act as a go-between.
  5. If you’re married, or planning with a partner, come to the meeting together. Planning as a couple really needs to be done as a couple. “I’ll have to talk it over with my partner” only means you’re likely to have the same meeting all over again. If you’ll both be signing documents, you both should be there for the initial meeting.
  6. Bring a a list of questions to ask the attorney. Even if you only have one or two, and you think they’re naïve, bring your list of questions. Your questions tell an attorney a lot about what your goals are, and will help you get a good read on what the attorney is like as a person and professional.