Five Things To Bring To Your Estate Planning Meeting

An estate planning meeting can be stressful for some people. Not only is there a lot to think about and to understand, but thinking about the end of one's life is rarely ever fun. Taking the time to prepare before you meet with your estate lawyer can help the process move along more smoothly, thus reducing your stress. The following checklist can help.

#1: Gather all previous estate documents

If you have had a will or any other end-of-life directives drawn up previously, especially if the work was done by a different law firm, gather them together. You need to bring these with you to your estate planning meeting. Not only can they help provide a framework for your future estate plan, but your lawyer has to make sure that these old documents can't negate any new plans you draw up.

#2: Beneficiary information

Beneficiary information doesn't just refer to those you want to name in your estate plan. You need to consider those that are in the line of inheritance that you may not be including in the plan—such as a disinherited child. Bring documentation on all children, grandchildren, spouses, and dependents. This should include names, birth dates, death date (if applicable), and identifying information like social security numbers if applicable. Also, be sure to notify your lawyer if any of your children or grandchildren are adopted. Special wording may be necessary in the will in order to protect the inheritance of non-blood relatives.

#3: Marriage history

If you have only been married once and are still currently married, then a copy of your marriage certificate is all you need. If you have previous spouses, then you will need to bring in proof of divorce. It is not unheard of for a previous partner to attempt to contest the will, so your lawyer will need to craft the document in order to prevent this possibility.

#4: Guardianship information

For those with minor children or dependents, setting a guardian for them is often more important than allocating assets. Bring in details, including name and contact information, for the person you wish to appoint guardian for your dependents. If you plan to put their assets into a trust and the trustee will differ from the guardian, then make sure to also bring in the trustee's information.

#5: Assets and debts

Finally, you will also need to bring in documentation of every asset you hold as well as any outstanding debts. Assets include investments accounts, banking accounts, business holdings, and real estate. This way your estate lawyer can ensure they cover all of your assets when drafting your estate plan.

For more help, contact an estate lawyer such as Robert Bruce Jones Attorney.