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What Should I Bring To The First Estate Planning Meeting I Have With My Lawyer?

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  1. Bring copies of your existing estate planning documents – Wills, trusts (both trusts you created and trusts that others created for you), beneficiary designations, powers of attorney, nominations of conservator, health care directives.  That way the lawyer will know how to amend what you have in the proper fashion, and also whether some of the documents you have are fine as they are.  Sometimes trusts others created for you grant you the power to direct how those trust assets pass when you die – your lawyer will need to see the trust to help you exercise that power properly if it exists.
  2. Bring a financial statement if you have one.  
  3. Title to properties matters.  Therefore, bring copies of relatively recent property tax bills (the lawyer can see how real estate is held), addresses of the properties you own and information regarding the outstanding mortgages on those properties, relatively recent bank and brokerage statements, promissory notes owed to you, closely held business share certificates, operating agreements for LLCs in which you are a member, partnership agreements for any partnerships in which you are a partner, shareholder agreements to which you are a party, copyrights you own, contracts under which you receive royalties or other payments, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to which you are a party, divorce decree or marital settlement agreements related to any marital dissolutions to which you have been a party.

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