I'm ready to do my estate planning. What should I expect as I
It is common to have many questions as you initiate your estate planning. Don't let these questions slow you down. When you find an estate planning attorney, the process will probably take two meetings. The first meeting is for you to meet the attorney and to disclose your unique family situation and assets. During that meeting, the attorney will advise you as to basic estate planning concepts and documents, and will develop a distribution scheme for your estate plan. When all the details are decided, then a second appointment is set for you to return to sign your documents. This two step process is typical of our law firm.
Do I have to have a clear idea of what I want to do in my estate plan before I see an attorney?
No. The majority of your questions or concerns will not even impact the final estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney can cut right to the chase and quickly arrive at a workable estate plan in less than 15 minutes. Most of your questions and concerns will be easily dealt with, that is one of the benefits of using an experienced estate planning attorney.
Can't I get estate planning documents over the internet or at the bookstore?
Yes you can. However, you do so at your own risk. While attorneys appreciate those individuals who want to learn as much as possible about estate planning, we are not very threatened by these "do it yourself" resources. We see time and time again attempts of our clients to draft their own documents and we see the many mistakes and misunderstandings that they have. Our law firm has long ago stopped reviewing estate planning documents drafted by non-lawyers. No one wants to pay an estate planning attorney good money just to poke holes in their self-drafted estate planning documents. Our advice, just get it done right the first time by a qualified estate planning attorney, that way you actually have the protection you want and you don't waste time and frustration.
What should I bring to my first meeting with an estate planning attorney?
Yes. It is typical for an estate planning attorney to have an asset questionnaire for you to complete and bring to your first meeting. Also, bring all Grant Deeds for any real property you own along with the most recent property tax bill from the county assessor. Also, bring your unexpired photo identification (e.g., CA Drivers License, US Passport) and the correct name spellings of the people that will be listed in your estate plan. If you can't find all your deeds, the attorney may be able to assist you in obtaining a copy.