At my firm, James M. Snow Law, I am always happy to help you with your estate planning needs. In my experience, however, I have found that the process works best when my clients have taken the time to prepare and consider a few important aspects ahead of time. In this article, I’ll go over a few key things that I recommend thinking about before you sit down with your estate planning attorney to begin the process.
1. Guardianship of Minor Children- If you have children under the age of 18, then one thing you should think about before you meet with your estate planning attorney is who you want to appoint as their guardian in the event that you pass away before they reach adulthood. Make sure you ask the potential guardian first to make sure they agree to take on that responsibility.
2. Personal Representatives, Agents, and Trustees- Another thing you should think about before meeting with an estate planning lawyer is who you want to appoint to make decisions on your behalf after your passing or if you should become incapacitated. You can choose someone you trust to act as your agent, which gives them the power to manage your assets under your durable power of attorney; your personal representative, which gives them the power to do the same following your death; or the trustee of your living trust, which gives them the authority to deal with the assets in that trust in the event of your death or incapacity.
3. Property- A third thing to think about before meeting with an estate planning attorney is your property and how you want it to be distributed after your passing. For example, if there are any heirlooms or special items you want to bequeath to specific people, you can stipulate that in your will. Similarly, you can bequeath financial assets and business interests.