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How To Prepare For Your Initial Estate Planning Meeting

One of the most common reasons that clients give for waiting or delaying is that they do not want to take the time and/or energy to go through the process, which may seem daunting and arduous at times. Efficiency is the number one way to combat this concern. Choosing to hire an attorney to efficiently walk you through the process is important. However, before meeting with legal counsel for estate planning purposes, there are some things that you can do to make the process easier and smoother for you.

1. Review current estate plan.

Take a look at any estate planning documents that you have executed in the past and send copies to the attorney. This will allow both you and the attorney to be on the same page going into your meeting on how your estate plan currently stands.

2. Create an asset list.

Create a physical or mental list of your assets. Know the value of each asset and how it is titled (owners and beneficiaries). An estate planning attorney will ask you for this information. While you may not know everything about your assets going into the meeting, you can set a good foundation and draw a clear picture for the attorney.

3. Prepare for death talk.

Prepare for and accept that the topic of conversation during your estate planning discussion will involve death. Good estate planning involves solidifying a plan for finances and assistance during your lifetime but also makes directives for process and assets upon your death. If you are creating an estate plan with your spouse, the attorney will ask you questions relating to the hypothetical situation where your spouse passes away. Reactions to talking or thinking about death and the circumstances surrounding it varies and is unique to each individual. For many of us, it may be a good idea to mentally prepare a bit to eliminate being caught off guard.

4. Be ready to make decisions.

Estate planning involves several different decisions. The attorney is there to advise you on the pros and cons of each option and to convey his or her opinion, but the ultimate decisions are made by you. Since everyone makes decisions in their own way and in their own time, the estate planning process can be very quick or take a while. There are a couple considerations that you can think about prior to meeting with the attorney to cut back on delay due to decision making.

What kind of legacy do I want to leave after I die?

Where do I want my assets to go?

Who do I trust to take care of my children?

Who do I trust to act in my best interest or to follow my wishes?

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