When you make an appointment to speak with an estate planning attorney, you should be prepared to have a very open and honest conversation. You are going to have to discuss some of the most sensitive areas of your life, and this can be a bit disconcerting to some people.
At the same time, you have to be forthcoming if you want your wishes to be carried out after you pass away without any surprises taking place because your attorney didn’t know everything that was relevant.
You may have heard about the estate challenge that was issued recently after comedic actor Sherman Hemsley passed away. It involved a fellow named Richard Thornton who stepped forward to challenge the will.
Thornton was actually able to prove that he was Sherman Hemsley’s half-brother, but the challenge was rebuffed because Hemsley’s last will did not mention Thornton and it was deemed to be valid by the probate court.
We mention this case because details like the existence of a relative such as this would be relevant when you are consulting with your attorney.
You also need to prepare a financial statement so that your lawyer understands your position. The estate tax may or may not be a factor depending on the extent of your assets, but action may be necessary to situate your resources to minimize estate taxes.
Your family dynamic and the specifics about people who will be receiving inheritances will be discussed. If you are setting something aside for minors, people with special-needs, or spendthrifts, you would take various different courses of action.
As your life changes, updates to your estate plan will invariably become necessary. The eventual administration of the estate will also require legal assistance. Once you establish a communicative rapport with your attorney, you can feel comfortable going forward as you develop a long-term working relationship that may well extend to multiple generations.