During the estate planning process, your estate planning attorney will ask you to fill out informational forms and answer questions. This is because all of this information is important in the design, drafting, and implementation of your estate plan.
Just like a medical doctor needs to know your background and symptoms, your juris doctor (i.e. your lawyer) needs to know your background and legal “symptoms.” The more information you provide, the better your estate plan will fit.
Here is a list of things your estate planning attorney needs to know:
- Name and nickname; previous names used
- Address, telephone, email, and any other contact information
- Your marital status and whether you’ve been married previously
- Whether you have children, including step-children and/or adopted children
- Whether you have lived in a community property state or signed a community property agreement
- The size of your estate and what individual assets you own
- Whether you have other estate planning documents or prenuptial/postnuptial agreements
- Whether you own a business
- Whether you have any health concerns
- The names of trusted helpers (executors, guardians, power of attorney agents, and trustees)
- The names of beneficiaries
- Your estate planning goals
- Whether you regularly gift assets and have used any of your unified credit amount
- Whether you have a charity you would like to support
- Whether you have specific special assets that you would like to give to specific beneficiaries
- Whether you would like to have a living will
- Whether you would like to be an organ donor
- Whether you would like to give gifts to beneficiaries in asset protection trusts, as opposed to outright
- Whether you want to require that your surviving spouse get a prenuptial agreement as a condition of being able to access principle.
If you have questions about these estate planning questions, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.