Many people often ask, “what should I bring to have the most productive conversation with my estate planning attorney?” The following list is a good start to having a productive meeting with your estate planning attorney.

What Should I Bring With Me For My Initial Consultation With An Estate Planning Attorney?

Family Information

Your estate planning attorney needs to know your family information in order to make a proper recommendation. Contact information, trustworthiness of children, responsibility with money are all important facts for your attorney to know. This information will allow your attorney to make a recommendation for your specific situation to ensure that your estate is potentially protected for generations.

Existing Estate Plan

If you do have an existing estate plan in place, bring your Last Will and Testament, Durable Powers of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives and Health Care Powers of Attorney to the meeting so that your attorney can review the documents. Your family situation may have changed, the laws may have changed or other changes may be made to improve your existing plan. A thorough review of your existing documents may take a couple of weeks, but if your existing plan meets all of your goals and objectives, you will be able to rest at night, knowing that you have had a second opinion from an estate planning attorney.

Military Documents

If you or your spouse was a veteran, any documentation associated with service, will be helpful to determine whether you are eligible for certain benefits, like Veterans Aide and Attendance.

Information Regarding Bank Accounts, Brokerage Accounts, CDs, Annuities, etc.

Any financial information is important for your estate plan. The financial information allows your attorney to give recommendations to meet your family’s specific goals, such as protecting the assets for future generations, avoiding probate, qualifying for Medicaid or Veterans Aide and Attendance.

Deeds For Any Real Property That You Own, In Or Out Of Virginia

Real estate deeds are very important to bring to your estate planning meeting. Planning may involve transferring the property into trust for protection or how to pass the property down to your family after you are gone. Having the deed will allow the attorney to give a thorough review of the existing ownership interest as well as planning strategies to meet your future goals.

Long-Term Care Insurance Policies

Long-term care insurance policies are an important defense in protecting your assets from spending them down on nursing home care. A quick review of your existing policy by an experienced attorney, can assure you that your plan is great or may need to be reviewed by a professional to determine if any better options exist.

Medical History

Medical history is important for your attorney to project a timeline for your need of long-term care. A timeline is important in determining which strategies apply to your specific situation. For instance, will you be needing nursing home care within 5 years? If so, an irrevocable trust may not be the best option for you and your family.

Divorce Decrees

Blended families may need additional planning, to make sure that your goals are fully met. Divorce decrees, separation agreements, etc. will provide your attorney the necessary information needed to establish the correct plan for your family.

This information may seem overwhelming if you haven’t recently compiled a list of the necessary documents. However, having the checklist items prior to the meeting makes the meeting more productive and allows the attorney meeting with you to review your file so that he or she can do any necessary research before your meeting.

Do You Need To Speak With A Lawyer About Estate Planning?

If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.

Scott Alperin
Experienced Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney Serving Virginia Beach Area Clients Since 1994.
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