Have you put off creating your will because it seems too overwhelming? It may be easier and less time-consuming than you think. In just a one-hour meeting with an estate planning attorney—along with some preparation—you can be well on your way to having a legally sound will.
First, contact an estate planning attorney. These legal specialists are experts in will planning. They understand how your decisions affect your estate and can guide you toward a path that will best meet your goals.
From Start to Finish
Here’s how you and your attorney will progress from nothing to something in just one hour.
In the beginning, expect to answer a lot of questions regarding your goals for your estate. For example: How do you want to provide for minor children? Do you want to give back to the organizations that you have been meaningful to you during your lifetime, like the ROI?
Discussing your assets and liabilities, as well as how they are titled, will help your attorney determine whether your current situation aligns with your estate goals.
You’ll discuss guardianship for minor children, an executor for your estate, medical considerations and other important issues.
Assuming the meeting goes as planned, at this point your attorney should have a good feel for your estate and be ready to draft your will. Once a draft is complete and agreed upon, you’ll meet again to execute the will.*
Find the Right Estate Planning Attorney
Start by soliciting references from friends, relatives and co-workers. Talk to bankers, life insurance agents, accountants and financial planners. Your local bar association may have an online referral service. As you move forward, consider:
- Experience and references
- How fees are charged along with total cost estimate
- Professional accomplishments
- Percentage of work devoted to estate planning
- Alliances with professionals in related fields
Make the Most of Your Time
To maximize your meeting, be prepared to discuss the following:
- Background information (address, marital status, name of children, etc.)
- Assets and liabilities
- Guardians for minor children
- Executor for your estate
- Special considerations such as medical concerns or prenuptial agreements
*More complex estates or living trusts may require additional meetings and documentation.
The information in this publication is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.