1. Pull any old Estate Planning documents you have; copy to provide to the Attorney.
2. Review your documents and jot down notes for changes, questions, and concerns.
3. Summarize your assets, which include bank accounts, stocks, annuities, and investments, and have copies of the latest statements. In my first meeting with a client, we review what will go through Probate at death and what will not. We look where you can name a Beneficiary.
4. Pull your Life Insurance and Long Term Care policies. Make sure to find out who you have named as a Beneficiary. With all the computer issues that even big companies have, I recommend that you get a copy from your Agent. We are looking to see what they have listed, and if you want to make changes. I also put these in the file and the back up file I give you. It will be important if someone else has to act on your behalf.
5. Think about your family, your concerns, and jot down your questions, comments and determinations of what will be needed if you cannot handle your legal and financial affairs. Who would you trust to handle these? Do you have alternates?
6. Think about your family and how they will deal with your death. What are your concerns, wishes, and questions? Is there specific items that you would want someone to have? Are those items valuable? Are they sentimental?
7. Living Wills - how would your family handle you being kept alive by artificial means? What are your wishes? Who would you trust to follow your wishes.
In most cases, my clients know what they want and need to put in place, but in cases where there is a second marriage and children from a previous marriage, there might be more concerns and separate decisions that need to be made by the couple. Sometimes, there just needs to be discussion and questions answered so the right decision can be made.
BEING PREPARED FOR THAT FIRST APPOINTMENT IS IMPORTANT TO GETTING THE RIGHT DOCUMENTS IN PLACE, AND MAKING SURE YOUR ESTATE PLAN WILL WORK WHEN YOU NEED IT.