You can streamline the estate planning process by coming prepared to your first meeting with your estate planning attorney. It will be helpful if you have taken some time to consider who you would like to name as guardian, executor and trustee, as well as who you would generally like to inherit your property.

In addition, your attorney will ask for some basic information from you in order to best advise you. Below is a list of the information and documents that we recommend you make available to your estate planning attorney. If you are married, you should provide information for each spouse.

If this is not your first meeting with your attorney, it is still helpful to come prepared. You may be meeting with the same attorney who drafted your initial plan in order to update it. Or you may be meeting with a new attorney to update a plan that a previous attorney prepared. In either case, it will be useful to gather the below information, as it may have changed since you last updated or revisited your estate plan.

Contact and Background Information

  • Full name
  • Home and business address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Date of birth
  • Citizenship
  • Occupation

Family Background

  • Names of children, if any
  • Dates of birth for children
  • Whether any family members have special needs, or other asset protection concerns
  • Other family members you support, including former spouses

Asset and Trust Information

  • Residential property (location, owner, value)
  • Retirement accounts (beneficiary, value)
  • Life insurance (owner, beneficiary, value)
  • Bank or brokerage accounts (owner, value)
  • Other assets of value (partnership interests, art, etc.)
  • Trusts of which you are a beneficiary
  • Expected inheritances
  • Approximate net worth

Copies or Originals of Existing Estate Planning Documents, if any[1]

  • Will
  • Revocable Trust
  • Irrevocable Trusts – created by you or for your benefit by another person (including life insurance trusts)
  • Power of attorney
  • Health care proxy and living will
  • Prenuptial agreements or divorce settlement agreements, if relevant

 

[1] It is common for an estate planning attorney to hold original versions of a client’s estate planning documents for safekeeping, particularly Wills.

Wealthspire Advisors is the common brand and trade name used by Sontag Advisory LLC and Wealthspire Advisors, LP, separate registered investment advisers and subsidiary companies of NFP Corp.
This information should not be construed as a recommendation, offer to sell, or solicitation of an offer to buy a particular security or investment strategy. The commentary provided is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for accounting, legal, or tax advice. While the information is deemed reliable, Wealthspire Advisors, LP cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose, and makes no warranties with regard to the results to be obtained from its use. © 2019 Wealthspire Advisors

Nicole Hart, J.D.

Nicole Hart is head of our trusts & estates department and works in our New York office.