Harrison Estate Law Meeting Preparation
Wondering what an initial estate planning appointment would be like? This video can help answer your questions.
So you've made an appointment to meet with our firm about estate planning, or you're thinking about making an appointment to meet with us about estate planning, and maybe you're wondering what's going to be involved? What are we going to talk about in this meeting? What should I maybe be thinking about before I come in? We've sent you an intake form in most cases, and it is helpful for us if you fill that out. It makes sure that we get all the names spelled right. And it gives us a good idea of your situation before you come in. More importantly, it gives you some things to think about, which you may have never thought about before, that'll help make our meeting more productive.
If you're not sure about the answers, just do us a favor and read through it and see if it jogs anything in your memory of things you want to talk about when you come in. The first thing we're going to do when you come in is I'm just going to ask you about your careers and your kids, your family, basically learn a bit about you outside of your estate planning and sort of get a feel for what your concerns are.
People come to see me because they want to make sure money goes to the right people when they pass away, they want to make it hassle free and avoid probate, they want to minimize taxes. Sometimes they're concerned about making sure they can't be sued during their lifetimes or that when they leave money to save their kids, their kids can't be sued and the inheritance taken. Those are all things that we can talk about during the meeting.
So think about what's important to you so that we can make sure we address it. Once we talk about those initial things, after that, I'm going to ask you about your assets. And I realize that's personal information, but I can't do a goodwill or trust for you unless I know exactly what you own, how it's titled and how it's taxed as well. The type of plan I recommend for someone who has just a life insurance policy versus someone who has mineral rights in three different states, it's going to be very different and a lot of different considerations are going to apply. So think about actually what you own.
I sometimes meet with people who aren't really sure what they have. So it's a good idea to see if you know how your bank accounts are titled, if you have stocks and bonds, approximately what they're worth, if you have an IRA or a 401k, log in and check the balance, I don't need an up to the day balance, but I do need to know generally what all those things are worth.
If you have life insurance, check on the face value, what would be received if you pass away. If you own a home, maybe check the Zillow value, figure out how much you've got left on the mortgage. Just so I know approximately how much equity you have in the home. Once those matters are over, we're going to talk about how do you actually want to leave your money when you pass away, or if you have an existing will or trust, which we'd love for you to bring with you so I can review it, how do you want to change those documents?
When you leave money to someone, there's a few options you can think about. There's the simple way of just leaving the money outright to do whatever they want with. But then you can also leave money to someone, if maybe you have an irresponsible child or a child with special needs, maybe you're in a second or third marriage, and you want to take care of your spouse. But when your spouse passes away, you want the money that's left over to go on to your kids and not your step-kids. Those are all things we can set up. So be thinking about that and let us know if you do have a financially irresponsible child or just someone who shouldn't have the money yet.
You're also going to want to think about who do you want to actually be in charge of wrapping up your affairs when you pass away. If you have minor children, this may be a sibling or a parent who would be in charge. It can be a trusted friend. If you have adult children, then hopefully you have some who are responsible and it could be one of them. Some people don't have kids, or maybe you're not married. And sometimes for those people, it can be a friend or even a trust company, like a corporation. So those are all things that we can talk about during the meeting as well.
In addition to planning for what happens when you pass away, we also do planning in case you are incapacitated. So if you're alive, but you can't make your own decisions anymore. So please think about who you would want to make financial decisions for you, if you can't make your own, who you would want to make medical decisions for you, if you can't make your own.
And then also think about your end of life wishes. So do you want a lot of extraordinary measures done to keep you alive, even if the doctors think there might not be hope or do you really just want to go to hospice and be kept comfortable because we'll prepare documents that deal with those things typically as well. Once we go through all of that, and often earlier, we'll talk a little bit about pricing and what the different types of plans look like.
Typically, if we're doing a revocable trust plan, it's more expensive than a simple will plan. And then I'll recommend a few options for most clients. The typical prices range from about 1400 to 7,000 and often we will do a flat fee. So I will tell you, this is exactly how much it will be for everything I recommend.
For some clients, if you have an unusual situation or you need a tax planning, especially estate tax planning, then we're often going to ask you for a retainer and we're going to bill hourly and just make sure all that is done.
Give us a call now or click the link below to tell us more about your case so we can schedule a free consultation. Thanks for watching.