Meeting with an attorney to begin your estate plan is an important first step. Make the most of your time by being prepared.
Being organized for any legal meeting saves you time. Part of being prepared means knowing what to expect. When you meet with an estate planning attorney, expect the following:
- The opportunity to ask questions
- A discussion, in a confidential setting, of your personal wishes and reflections about your wealth and end-of life choices
- A review of the materials and documents related to creating your estate plan
While you do not need every financial document for your initial meeting, it is a good idea to bring what you can get together beforehand. Your attorney can provide you with suggestions, so ask about a checklist when you make your appointment. At Borenstein, McConnell & Calpin, you can have the opportunity to meet with one of our attorneys at one of our offices in Hunterdon or Union Counties, or in the comfort of your own home or office. Other attorneys have their own policies for consultations.
We talked earlier about the types of information needed to prepare your Will. For an estate plan, the information is similar. Consider bringing the following types of information to your meeting:
- Family: Make a list of the names, ages, and dates of birth or death of your immediate family. This includes your spouse or partner, children, parents and siblings. If you have adult children, do not forget details about grandchildren or great-grandchildren. If you are providing for close friends who may not be blood relatives, but whom you consider family, include their information. Detail long-term care arrangements you may need to make for a loved one with special needs.
- Property: Transactional documents that detail ownership of real property are important. Deeds, mortgage and other documents are useful for clarifying the ownership of rental, residential or commercial property. Try to bring statements that reflect value, debt and tax assessments on the property. Make a list of your personal property, including cars, collections and other tangible objects of value. Increasingly, intangible objects such as domain names, iTunes accounts, digital and other virtual goods require disposition upon death.
- Financial information: Bring statements of financial accounts. This includes bank, savings, retirement, annuities, insurance policies and investment accounts. Appropriate treatment of a complex investment portfolio is important to preserve your wealth for loved ones. If you own a business, or a partnership interest, bring information relative to the business entity along with recent personal and commercial financial statements.
Your initial attorney meeting creates a blueprint for carrying your wealth—and your wishes— forward. When you have questions about preparing a Will, or an estate plan in New Jersey, please feel free to call Alec Borenstein, Esq., at 908-236-6457 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free consultation at our offices in Hunterdon or Union Counties or at your office or residence.