What Florida estate planning documents should you bring to your estate planning attorney’s office when you’re meeting to begin the estate planning process? It’s a question that most people ask and as the top Florida estate planning attorney firm, we here at Weidner Law have the answer!
Florida Estate Planning Documents: What to Bring to Your Attorney’s Office
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to start putting together your estate plan. If you’re like most people, you’re contemplating getting an estate planning attorney (or you already have) and, if you’re like most people, you’ve forgotten to ask that attorney what you need to bring to your consultation and now it’s the middle of the night and you’re panicking because your appointment is the first thing in the morning.
Don’t panic, that information may be available on their website. Most attorneys have a website and somewhere on that website, you may find the details of what you need to bring to your attorney’s office for your first meeting with them.
If that information happens not to be on their website, keep reading because we’re about to tell you what you need…
What Documents Do I Need to Bring to My Estate Planning Attorney Appointment?
In order to include family members and friends in your estate plan, you will need to have biographical information for those people. This includes names (as well as nicknames), ages, contact information, and a knowledge of how you want these people to be included in your estate plan. For example, who will be a beneficiary and who will be exempted from an inheritance? This will speed up the estate planning process but it will also ensure that you don’t make any hurried decisions in order to “get things done as quickly as possible”.
Make sure that you think about non-family members too when you’re collecting biographical information for your estate plan. For example, if the person that you want to appoint as the executor of the estate is not a family member, you still need to have their biographical information so that they can be noted as your executor and contacted in the event of your death or incapacitation.
These are the big documents that will take some time to gather and label appropriately. Financial documents should include anything related to your financial worth and include the following:
- Bank accounts (checking, savings, foreign and domestic bank accounts)
- Investment accounts
- Treasury notes
- Inherited retirement savings
- Pension information
- Life insurance information
- Real estate information (including addresses, whether the property is a sole ownership property, market value of that property, the mortgage company and any outstanding balance on the mortgage, location of the deed)
- Tangible personal property (this includes any personal property that is not real estate or financial accounts noted above. For example, grandma’s engagement ring or your vehicle).
- Inheritance (any inheritance that you currently have or that you anticipate having as well as any funds being held in a trust).
- Business information (if you own your own business, you will need to include the location of that business and how that business is owned.)
The planning information is what most people think of when it comes to planning their estate. It’s important to put plenty of thought into this information before you meet with your estate planning attorney because these aren’t the type of decisions that can be made in seconds. This includes things such as:
- Who will inherit what?
- Do you intend on leaving any charitable gifts?
- Who will serve as the executor of your estate?
- Do you intend on setting up any trusts? If so, who will serve as the trustee of those trusts?
- Do you need to set up guardianship?
- Are you interested in setting up a power of attorney or healthcare directive (living will)?
- Do you have specific requests for your final arrangements? If so, have you made any of these arrangements already and do you have any type of “funeral insurance”?
- Are you an organ donor or do you want to donate your body to science? If either of these situations applies, it’s also crucial that you inform your family so that they can carry out these wishes.
- Who will be your “backups” should your first appointments be unavailable or decline their role or inheritance?
A Few Words…
The aim here is to be as organized as possible and to have everything you need on hand so that you don’t have to go back and make amendments to your estate plan in the future because you forgot to include something. If you can, plan ahead and have all of the necessary documents sorted into well-organized folders. It’s also advisable to use sticky notes to identify specific items that you may want to reference so that you spend less time looking for information while meeting with your estate planning attorney. This will keep your fees to a minimum and it will save your attorney time.
Ready to Start Drawing Up Your Florida Estate Planning Documents?
If you’re ready to start drawing up your Florida estate planning documents, Weidner Law can help to ensure that you cross all of the T’s and dot all of the I’s. We can also help to ensure that all of your estate planning documents are put together in accordance with Florida state laws so that your family doesn’t have to struggle with questions after your passing.
To make an appointment for your consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys, just give us a call today at 727-954-8752!