How should I prepare to meet with my estate planning attorney?

When preparing for an initial meeting with an estate planning attorney, the client should have a list of all real estate and other assets, along with their estimated fair market value. The client should also have copies of any estate planning documents, including wills, community property agreements, durable powers of attorney, and trust documents. In addition, the client should bring a list of all insurance policies indicating their face amounts, cash values, the names of the insured as well as the names of all beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries.

Furthermore, bring any business documents, including partnership agreements or stock purchase agreements. It would be helpful to have the account information on any retirement plans or insurance policies as well as the names of the beneficiaries. Prior to meeting with the attorney, consider what your goals and aspirations are in establishing an estate plan. You should also think about your selection of a personal representative with respect to a will, and a contingent trustee with respect to a trust.

And if you have minor children, think about whom you would like to be their guardian. If you have any children or grandchildren with special medical or educational needs, the attorney may be able to create special needs trust for them.

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