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What Documents Are Needed for My First Estate Planning Meeting?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2022 | Estate Planning

The prospect of talking to an estate planning attorney can make anyone feel anxious. Addressing your final wishes can be a challenging and sensitive topic. Often, people become overwhelmed simply trying to prepare for an initial meeting with an estate planning attorney.

At the Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, we don’t want the estate planning process to be intimidating. We want you to feel comfortable discussing your estate plan and make the process as smooth and efficient as possible. To help you prepare for your first estate planning meeting, we’ve compiled a list of the most vital documents you need to bring to your initial consultation.

What Documents Should I Bring?

Ready to make plans for how your assets will take care of your family after you’re gone? An estate planning attorney can help you set up the strategy you desire, but first, you must provide crucial information about your current situation. Understanding your current circumstances and future goals will help your attorney draft an estate plan that meets your needs. These are the most common documents an estate planning attorney will want to see during your initial consultation:

  • Financial statements – Before creating a plan, an attorney will want to review your financial information, such as bank statements, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and investment accounts.
  • Retirement account documents – You should also bring paperwork outlining your retirement accounts. Retirement accounts can include 401(k)s, IRAs, Roths, pensions, TSPs, and inherited retirement savings accounts.
  • Life insurance documentation – Do you have one or more life insurance policies? Bring documentation on these policies. Your coverage information should include the value of your life insurance policy and the name and contact information of your listed beneficiaries.
  • Marital agreements – Marital agreement information is also important to address with your estate planning attorney. Bring documents that spell out prenuptial agreements, marital arrangements, or child-care obligations.
  • A list of real estate or property holdings – Property is an asset. Bring property ownership documents that include the value of the real estate, proof of ownership, and the mortgage balance. You will need documentation for all property holdings, such as homes, investment properties, or rental units.
  • A list of tangible assets – You will also want to compile a list of tangible assets like cars, collectibles, art, antiques, jewelry, or other pieces of property with intrinsic or sentimental value.
  • Business documents – If you are a business owner, you will also want to bring documentation highlighting your business interests. These documents should contain the name of the business, your financial stake, and the classification of your business.
  • A list of family information – Many people wishing to create an estate plan have some idea of the family members or friends they want to include in their arrangements. It is helpful to provide your attorney with a list of the people or charities you wish to include in your estate plan. Your list should cover the full names, ages, and contact information of the individuals you want to name as beneficiaries, executors, guardians, or fiduciaries.
  • A list of questions or concerns – Before your initial meeting, you probably have dozens of questions racing through your mind. Yet, when you sit down to ask those crucial questions, those questions disappear. Keep a running list of questions or concerns you want to discuss and bring this list with you to your initial consultation.

Preparing for the future doesn’t have to feel daunting. At the Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, we know you want to protect your family, and you have a vision for making that possible. A seasoned Council Bluffs estate planning attorney can help you draft an estate plan that meets your goals and addresses your final wishes. For a confidential legal consultation, call 712-309-3738 or contact our office online today.