You've scheduled an appointment with your attorney, and the meeting to talk about your estate plan is next week. You have the information form she asked you to fill out, but in addition to listing your assets and income and children, there are other things to think about that don't fit so nicely into a box on a form. These are some of the things your attorney will ask you about, and that you (and your spouse or partner) should think and talk about before the meeting.
- How are your assets held? Are the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies and retirement accounts up to date? Have you even assigned beneficiaries? Do you have contingent beneficiaries listed?
- Do you have any children (or grandchildren) with disabilities? This can include mental or physical disabilities, and drug and alcohol addiction. Be sure to bring up these issues with your attorney, and she can advise you on the best way to plan.
- At what age do you want your children to inherit money? Most people aren't ready to handle large amount of money at age 18. Your Will or Trust can be structured to allow payments at different ages. You can even make it so that the funds can be held back if you child is in a position that would make a distribution inappropriate at that time (if they are gambling, or suffering from an addiction.)
- Who do you want to carry out your wishes? You need to think about who you want to choose as your agent under your Durable Power of Attorney, the executor for your Will, , your Health Care Proxy, the guardian for your minor children, and the Trustee for any trusts you might need. Have you talked to these people yet about your plans?
- Do you have old Wills or Trusts, or other legal documents? Gather these up and bring them with you. Your attorney will probably want to review them.
- What are your other concerns? No matter how trivial (or embarrassing) you think they are, if they might matter when making your plan, ask them. If you think of questions while preparing for the meeting, write them down so you don't forget to ask your attorney. And if you think of more questions after you leave, call her.