How to Prepare for an Estate Planning Meeting

how to prepare for an estate planning meeting

Planning for your legacy after you pass is a big step in your life. You’ve scheduled your first meeting for estate planning, and you’re anticipating all of the questions they’ll ask. Who will take care of your children? Who will take care of you if you get sick or how will you pay for care? Who will you designate as a power of attorney? Who will you designate as beneficiaries on retirement accounts? And plenty of other hefty questions you’ll need to think about.  Estate Planning is also about maximizing funds and lessening unnecessary taxation. 

One of the best things you can do to make these meetings productive and complete your estate planning quickly is to prepare for your first estate planning meeting. Learn how to start estate planning, when to begin implementing your estate plan and questions you can ask your estate planning attorney, so you can feel confident and comfortable in your first estate planning meeting. 

Table of Contents:

When to Plan an Estate Planning Meeting

The earliest a person can begin their estate plan is the day they become a legal adult. In many states, becoming a legal adult means a person is now in control of their finances, health care and other aspects that need to be accounted for after they pass. Financial advisors suggest starting as early as you can and updating the estate plan every three or five years. 

While young adults can start an estate plan, many haven’t even given it a thought or think they’re far from needing to plan what will happen when they pass. This situation is very common.

Major life events are also great markers for starting an estate plan. No matter your age, it’s important to consider starting an estate plan if you’re going through milestones like:

  • Purchasing a home and other properties: It’s a good idea to start estate planning after the big purchase of a home or another property.
  • Marriage: Marrying and remarrying involves combining assets, which is the perfect time to consider an estate plan.
  • Having children: The birth of a child is one of the most common milestones for beginning an estate plan. People want to ensure finances and guardianship for their minor children in case of their passing.
  • Opening a savings account: An estate plan will determine where these funds will go when a person passes. 
  • Traveling: Starting or updating estate plans before big trips is a good precaution to take.
  • Divorce: It’s important for individuals to create or update an estate plan when they are divorced.
  • Accepting an inheritance or other assets: Accepting a new inheritance can increase a person’s assets exponentially. It’s important to create an estate plan reflecting these additional assets.
  • Adding new grandchildren or other births in your family: The addition of new family members is a great time to start an estate plan or update a current plan.

How to Prepare for an Estate Planning Meeting

You can make your first estate planning meeting run smoothly and ease any worries by coming prepared. Take some time to follow steps to ensure you have all the paperwork you’ll need. You should also prepare answers for questions the estate planning attorney will ask and come up with a few questions to ask so you know everything about your estate plan.

After you decide it’s time to create your estate plan, accomplish these steps to prepare for your meeting:

1. Complete Your Estate Planning Questionnaire

After you schedule an appointment for your estate planning meeting, your estate planning attorney will ask you to fill out a questionnaire. That will include questions to help them better understand your financial situation, family dynamics, goals for leaving a legacy and more about your life. This information lets your attorney advise you to the best of their abilities and ensure your estate plan resembles your wants and needs. Filling out this questionnaire will also help make your first meeting more productive without having to go over family member’s names, addresses and more details. The more details, the better. 

2. Locate All of Your Financial Documents

Having all of your important financial documents with you will help your attorney know what you have access to and make the entirety of the estate planning process move faster. You should locate the following financial documents before your meeting:

  • Financial statements
  • Investment or Retirement account statements
  • Property deeds
  • Life insurance information
  • Business agreements
  • Liability information
  • Stock certificates

3. Gather Relevant Contracts

Contracts, including premarital agreements and divorce agreements, are documents your estate planning attorney will want to access during your meetings so your estate plan can comply with the terms in these relevant contracts.

Person sitting on floor with legs crossed and papers with various graphs spread out in front of them.

4. Bring Copies of Any Current Estate Plan Paperwork

If you’ve already completed documents like a will, power of attorney or and trust, you’ll want to bring those to your first meeting. Your attorney will go over these documents and either mark them as superseded or destroy the paperwork.

5. Select Health Care Agents and Executors

You’ll need to decide who will be in charge of your finances when you have passed or are incapacitated and someone who will make health care decisions for you in the same cases. Make sure you think of people you trust and consider alternates.

6. Consider How You Want Your Assets Split Up

Think about how you want to distribute your assets after you pass. Many people consider their children, other family members and charities they are passionate about as beneficiaries of their assets. If you’re unsure of who exactly you would like your assets to end up with, ask your attorney for advice. 

7. Ask Plenty of Questions

People don’t expect you to be an expert at estate planning, so make sure you ask questions when you need to. You want to make sure your estate plan resembles your wants and needs and that you’re comfortable with the terms. 

How a Financial Advisor Can Help With Estate Planning

A financial advisor can help during your estate planning meetings and give you practical advice. While you can prepare all of your documents and think of questions to ask your estate planning attorney, having an expert by your side that knows your overall financial picture and tax situation to help make beneficial financial decisions regarding your estate plan is invaluable.

Hiring a financial advisor to help with estate planning will help keep your financial goals on track. You’ll likely be learning a lot of new information during these estate planning meetings, and your financial advisor will have the background knowledge to help make these meetings more efficient.

How Are Survivorship Life Insurance Policies Helpful in Estate Planning?

An insurance policy that can benefit certain couples in their estate planning is a survivorship policy. Wealthy couples can utilize a survivorship life insurance policy to help their heirs receive their estate assets without the heirs being as impacted by estate taxes. This is a helpful estate planning tool for couples who want to take away some of the tax burdens of their heirs and leave them with as much of their liquid assets as possible. 

Make an Appointment With Nova Wealth Management to Start Estate Planning

If you’re wondering what to ask your estate planning attorney or want advice throughout the estate planning process, work with the financial experts at Nova Wealth Management. Schedule a meeting today to start estate planning or fill out our contact form and see how we can provide a comprehensive approach to legacy planning. 

About the Author

Picture of Amy Novakovich, CFP®, CRPC®

Amy Novakovich, CFP®, CRPC®

Amy is a Co-Founder of Nova Wealth Management. She is a native of Wisconsin and moved to Florida in 2004. She earned a degree in finance from Florida Gulf Coast University. Amy is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (CFP®) and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® (CRPC®).

For more information about any of our products and services, schedule a meeting today or
register to attend a seminar.

Contact Us

Florida Phone: 239.294.8724
Chicago Phone: 708.667.6384
Dallas Phone: 214.272.2336
Fax: 888.908.6052

Our Locations

Florida Location
24311 Walden Center Drive, Suite 200
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Get Directions

Chicago Location
3333 Warrenville Rd
Lisle, IL 60532
Get Directions

Dallas Location
5956 Sherry Lane, 20th Floor
Dallas, TX 75225
Get Directions

Tony Gutierrez