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First Date With Your Estate Planning Attorney: Here’s How to Prepare for Your First Consultation With OC Wills & Trusts

Estate planning is one of the most important processes you will ever work through; you are essentially deciding what happens to your hard-earned assets and those that have been given to you, but even more than that, you may also be deciding how to provide for loved ones upon your passing. 

Whatever your circumstances, you have called upon OC Wills and Trusts and are ready for your first meeting with us. We are here to listen and help you achieve your objectives and desires while protecting you from legal, tax, and other forms of liability. 

Nevertheless, it’s natural to have some concerns and want to ensure your first appointment is as productive as possible; to that end, we’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do to prepare.

Preparing for Your First Estate Planning Meeting

During your first meeting, just like a great date on Valentine’s Day, we will listen carefully to understand every detail of your unique circumstances. The more you have to say, the better; every aspect of your case is important for estate planning purposes, and every communication between you and our team is confidential.

With that said, bringing the following items with you will prove extremely helpful:

Bank, Retirement, and Investment Account Documents

Bring all of your bank and investment account statements with you; most can even be conveniently found in your online banking app. Include all accounts in which you have an interest, such as joint bank accounts, and bring retirement account statements with you as well.

List of Family, Dependents, and Heirs

Make and bring a list of your family members — including non-immediate family members as well as any dependents you are supporting —  as well as a list of any heirs to be included in your estate planning, including people and organizations. 

Mortgage and Real Estate Documents

Gather and bring all documents related to your home and any other property you own, including mortgage documents, property deeds, and insurance documents. 

Credit Card and Loan Documents

Your debts are an important part of estate planning, so when you arrive at your first meeting, it will be helpful to have the following debt-related items with you:

  • Credit card statements
  • Student loan statements
  • Medical accounts 
  • Records of current financial judgments

You’ll also want to bring in any documentation of any tax bills and obligations you currently have. 

Estate Planning Documents

If you have already gone through some level of estate planning, you may have previously created estate planning documents. These documents may be in effect and form and must be addressed from the beginning. 

For instance, if you already have a will in place, it will figure into our planning meetings. Fortunately, you can supersede it — and most other previously created estate planning documents — with new versions of them. 

Wishes and Desires

Most importantly, it helps tremendously when we understand your future needs and the needs of your loved ones. Some of the questions we will help you answer regarding your wishes and desires include the following:

  • What are my long-term medical treatment wishes?
  • What are my retirement goals?
  • Do I plan on engaging in philanthropy?
  • Do I have family members or dependents with special needs or concerns?
  • Are my estate planning goals reasonable?

Still, it’s important to remember that estate planning is a process during which the answers to these and many other questions become clearer as things move forward.

Protecting Your Future

In the end, the most helpful step you can take in estate planning is meeting with an experienced attorney. Even if you have none of the above documents gathered or clear wishes figured out, we will still be capable of providing you with a great deal of guidance.

You’ve worked hard for what you have, and you value the gifts you’ve been given; with that in mind, our goal at OC Wills and Trust is to protect your future through thorough and individualized estate planning services. We represent clients throughout Orange County and are ready to meet with you at your earliest convenience.

Brian Chew, the managing partner of OC Wills & Trust Attorneys, has extensive experience in the areas of estate planning, asset protection planning, business succession planning, long-term care planning, and veterans’ benefits. By devoting his practice to estate planning matters, he has founded a firm that strives to provide exceptional service to their clients by working closely with individuals and their families to create comprehensive and customized estate plans. For the past twenty five years, Brian has served thousands of clients in the matters of estate planning, wills and trusts. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Brian Chew here.