Your first meeting with your estate attorney can go a lot smoother if you are prepared when the time comes. You might be able to get your attorney off to a quick start and avoid numerous meetings if you appear with needed documents, questions at the ready, and an understanding of what the attorney needs to know about you. Read on for some helpful information to help your first meeting be a success.

Establishing Identity and Influences

You may be surprised at having to show identification to the estate attorney. You must realize that considerable sums of money might be at stake and the attorney needs to know who you before they proceed. The people who appear at the appointment with you are also of concern to the attorney. Attorneys are held to an ethical mandate to ensure that you are not being unduly influenced by others that might have their own best interests at heart instead of you. It is not uncommon for elderly people to attend attorney meetings with their children, however. In some cases, the attorney may require that anyone attending the meeting be in possession of a power of attorney.

Information to Have on Hand

Estate planning attorneys realize that estates can involve a heavy load of paperwork. You might receive a list of documents needed before your appointment. You can help your estate-planning proceed far quicker if you come to the first meeting with the following information in hand:

  1. Names and Social Security numbers of your spouse and children.
  2. Names of grandchildren.
  3. Bank and investment account information
  4. Contact information of other attorneys, financial advisers, etc.
  5. Names of personal representatives and trustees
  6. A list of your property.
  7. A list of your debts
  8. Who you wish to be named a guardian for any minor-aged children
  9. Copies of a current will (if pertinent) and/or trusts
  10. Copies of real estate deeds, recent tax returns, life insurance policies

What to Ask the Estate Planning Attorney

Having a list of questions to ask will help you stay focused. For example, you might want to know:

  • How much will you be charged for attorney services?
  • Will the attorney you are speaking to handle your case or will other attorneys at the firm be performing the work?
  • How long will it take to complete the plan?
  • How often should the plan be updated?

If your plan needs to be changed or you need to initialize your plan, speak to an attorney. Contact a firm, like Barrett Twomey Broom Hughes & Hoke LLP, to get started.