Presented by: Bradford & Holliman, Estate Planning, www.bradfordholliman.com
You made the decision that you need an estate plan or you need to update your current plan. You also scheduled an appointment with the lawyer. Now, what do you need to do to prepare for the meeting?
- Assets – Make a list of your assets and income. List everything, even things you do not think are important. Your lawyer can make the determination if the assets are important or not for your goals; but, only if the lawyer knows about all assets.
- Incapacity – Who do you want to be in charge of YOU if you become incapacitated. People often think estate planning equals “death planning.” However, you may be incapacitated for months or years before you die. Who will handle things for you? The attorney can make suggestions; but, you need to have a list of trustworthy candidates.
- Distributions at Death – Give thought to who you want to receive your assets when you die. The attorney cannot help you answer this question.
- Business Issues – If you own a business, give serious thought to who will take over the business at your death. Will a spouse or a child that works in the business take over? Have you established a value or a method for valuing the business so beneficiaries not working in the business can sell their interest in the business?
- Blended Family Issues – If you are part of a blended family, you must consider if you will give all assets to your spouse at your death; or, if you will give some assets to your spouse and some assets to your children. If you plan to give all assets to your spouse, do you want to make sure any remaining assets at the surviving spouse’s death pass to your children? If you want to leave assets to your children at your death, do you have a plan for providing for your surviving spouse?
- Long Term Care Issues – Your attorney may help you create the perfect estate plan; but, you still need to think about how you will pay for long term care. Remember, the best estate plan is worthless if you spend everything on long term care before you die.
These tips will help you to be prepared for a productive initial meeting with your estate planning attorney.
-Melanie Bradford Holliman
Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC
Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.
2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124
This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.