1. Who do you want to manage your estate (and, if applicable, trust) when you die?
2. Who do you want to name as guardian for any minor children who survive you?
3. Who do you want to receive your assets when you die?
4. Who should be named as your agent in your Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters?
5. Who do you want to name as your agent in your Health Care Power of Attorney to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make them? You should include full legal names, addresses and all contact phone numbers for your first choice and any alternates.
6. Do you want a Living Will, which is also called a Declaration for a Desire for a Natural Death? This document allows the doctors to remove you from life support.
7. List any specific questions or concerns you want to discuss with your estate planning attorney.
For Questions 2-5, you should also consider naming alternates if your first or second choices are not available or fail to act.
During initial interviews, we review assets and liabilities and determine how to manage a client’s estate while considering the client’s goals and costs of probate. In order to accomplish those goals, we will need to know whether assets are owned in an individual or joint capacity and whether assets name beneficiaries. For assets that name beneficiaries, we review who is named as the primary and alternate beneficiary(ies).
The purpose of the aforementioned review of assets and liabilities is to ensure that assets are distributed according to the client’s wishes upon the client’s death. We analyze the feasibility and desirability of avoiding probate, consider strategies for avoiding death taxes, and determine whether a trust will be needed to achieve your goals. For further information, please read the article on this website titled "Ownership of Assets."