So you have finally made that appointment with an estate planning attorney, or have made a New Year’s resolution to make one…now what? If this is the first time you have sat down with an estate planning attorney then you may have no idea what to expect. Naturally, not all attorneys will operate exactly the same, and not all clients bring the same concerns to the table; however, there are some common expectations from an initial meeting.
Your attorney will usually start by gathering some basic information in order to check for any conflicts. Sensitive information will not be shared until any potential conflicts have been cleared up. After that, your attorney will usually try and get an overall picture of you and your immediate family as well as your financial picture and assets. Past, present, and any impending future marriages or domestic partnerships will be discussed as will existing children.
Your attorney may also ask you about any known health issues that you, your spouse, or your children have that could impact the estate plan as well as an incapacity plan. You will also want to discuss any business interests that you have as well as explain any existing business succession or continuity plans that are already in place. Finally, be sure to talk about any charities or philanthropic interests that are important to you so that they can also be included in your estate plan.
From all of this basic information, you and your estate planning attorney can begin to formulate an overall estate plan that meets your needs and objectives.