This is an article from Parman & Easterday (https://www.parmanlaw.com/) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that we thought others may find helpful.
If you are going to meet with an estate planning attorney, it is a good idea to plan in advance what you want to happen during the meeting. You want to use your time wisely with your lawyer, get your questions answered, and get on the path towards making an estate plan that works for you and your loved ones.
Preparing to Meet with a Trust and Estate Attorney
As you get ready to meet with a trust and estate attorney, there are a few key things you can do to prepare. Your estate planning process is going to be unique to you, so the steps you will need to take are going to vary, based on your particular situation. However, there are a few steps that are relevant to almost everyone’s situation. These steps include:
- Preparing a list of questions to ask. When you are meeting with an attorney, sometimes you forget what you wanted to ask. Make sure you get all of the essential questions answered, so assembling a list of questions in advance is highly encouraged.
- Thinking about your goals for estate planning. What are you hoping to accomplish by working with an estate planning attorney? Is your goal to obtain protection for your assets from things like estate tax? Are you trying to make sure you have an incapacity plan in place or that you can pay for a nursing home? Or maybe your goal is to find effective ways to give to charity? The clearer you are about what you hope to accomplish, the more productive your meeting with your attorney will to be.
- Talking with your spouse. Often, estate planning is something you and your spouse will do together. You should both attend the meeting, so you can work on financial planning and tax planning in which you both are involved. You want to attend together so you can make joint decisions on things like who will act as an agent or healthcare proxy in case of incapacity. Whether you are attending the meeting together or separately, (which is not recommended), you should be on the same page about the planning process prior to the meeting.
- Getting your financial information together. You may not need these details at your first meeting with a trust and estate attorney, but eventually you will need to provide information about your property and assets. The goals of estate planning usually include protecting your wealth or determining how your assets will be distributed after death, so you need to clearly identify your assets.
These are just a few key ways in which you can prepare to meet with an experienced legal professional. Your lawyer will then be able to tell you more about how the estate planning process works and provide you with additional information on which documents you’ll need to get the planning process underway.
Getting Help from an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
The estate planning process is very important, due to the high stakes involved. You want to be sure your assets are kept safe, especially as you get older and the chances of incapacity or being admitted to a nursing home increase.
You also need to make sure your assets go to the people or the charities that you choose, rather than allowing the state to benefit from your legacy. A good attorney should be your guide to making use of the legal tools that allow you to maintain control over your property.