is really little you need to do to prepare for your first appointment. The
most important thing is to make sure you get to our office so that the
process can begin.
to receive a reminder phone call from our office the day before your
appointment. This is simply to confirm the time and date of the appointment,
and to ensure that you are still planning to attend. If you need to
reschedule your appointment, please contact us immediately so that we may
rearrange our schedule and perhaps make an appointment more convenient for
another of our clients.
it would be helpful, there is no need to go on a "treasure hunt"
at this point for financial or legal documents, stock certificates or
insurance policies. Sometimes we find clients procrastinate in getting their
planning done because they cannot locate, or do not have time to locate, all
of these documents. Many of the documents we can obtain through public
records for you. Truthfully, these documents will not be needed until we
begin the funding process ... which is one of the last steps in the process!
Instead, spend the time before your appointment contemplating the Three P's
of Estate Planning.
Who are the Important People in your life?
Beginning with yourself, they also likely include your loved ones: your
spouse if you are married, children and grandchildren if you have any,
perhaps your parents, siblings or other relatives. Beyond these, however,
"Important People" also could include charities, special causes,
colleges or universities, or churches to which you are committed. For
some, "Important People" could even include pets. Spend some
time thinking about the impact others have had on your life. Make a list
and jot notes if you like. This is where the planning process truly
By Property we mean your assets in general.
Make a quick list of the assets you own or control. At this point, you do
not need to identify insurance policy numbers and exact dollar values.
Rather think through your assets in terms of their nature (cash, stocks,
bonds, real estate, etc.); their value in thousands of dollars; and your
ownership interest: Do you own assets in your name only, in joint tenancy
with someone else, or through a trust agreement or some other arrangement?
Be sure to include often-overlooked assets like life insurance (the death
benefit, not the cash value), business interests, and any inheritance you
may expect to receive.
After identifying the Important People in your life and your Property, the
next step is to consider the plans you would make for those people
(including yourself) and that Property in the event of your own incapacity
Who would you name to make decisions for you if you could no longer do so
yourself? Would the same person handle your finances and your personal and
health care decisions? Who would care for your minor children? How would
you distribute your assets to your heirs? Would you prefer to spare your
heirs the cost and hassles of the probate process? Would you like to
minimize the impact of estate taxes ... or maximize the impact of a
charitable bequest? Is there someone in your family with special needs for
whom you would like to provide? Is there someone who perhaps should not
receive a great deal of money without some outside oversight?
are just a few of the issues to consider when approaching the planning
process. They are much more important than the "treasure hunt"
for legal documents at this stage.