Preparing for Your First Estate Planning Consultation
Compliments of John D. Laughton,
A Professional Law Corporation,
Written By: The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys
You’ve made the decision to focus on your estate plan. It’s an important time and you’re not quite sure what to expect before meeting with an estate planning attorney. Odds are, it’s not nearly as overwhelming as you’re anticipating. There are a few things you can do to ensure you’re well-prepared for your first estate planning consultation.
First things first. Not sure where to start in terms of finding an estate planning advocate? It can seem like a shot in the dark, but there are factors that play a big role in finding the proper representation. While asking neighbors, co-workers and friends for recommendations is always a great place to start, don’t underestimate your own research efforts. One of the best indicators is if an attorney is associated with any organizations, such as the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. Those who are part of a reputable organization must remain in ongoing educational compliance. This is a great place to begin your search.
Any estate planning attorney worth their salt is going to be interested in you, your family and other important elements that define you: your career, your expectations and what you think retirement should look like. You’ll discuss how many children or grandchildren you have, how many marriages you’ve had and other similar details. Next, you’ll discuss with your assets, such as your savings, your employer’s retirement plan and any goals you may have prior to retirement. Be sure to discuss any loved ones who may have special needs or other issues that are important for your attorney to know. Perhaps a trust can put into place important financial protections for that loved one after you’re gone.
Remember, it defeats the purpose to withhold information. Your estate planning attorney is your biggest ally and they will work with the information you provide to create a customized estate plan that accomplishes your goals in ways you didn’t know were possible.
Once you’ve discussed everything of importance, they will then draft the documents needed to complete your estate plan and will also give you an idea of what kind of turnaround time is needed to complete those documents. Once you receive them, you will be requested to closely review them for accuracy. And lastly, once any revisions are made, you’ll sign the legal documents and they will become your collective estate plan.
Remember, ask questions. If you still have questions, ask them again! Their goal is simple: to ensure you are well protected and are not left vulnerable. It’s a goal the two of you share. Leaving the office, you should have a complete understanding of everything you just discussed, the pros and cons of any decisions you need to make and a sense of satisfaction in knowing you’ve just partnered with a legal professional who is on your side and looking out for your best interests.