I love my business! Over the many years that I have practiced law I have had the opportunity and privilege of working in many different practice areas, assisting many different companies, hospital systems, organizations, and helping people accomplish goals of various types. I have been involved in matters involving seven-figure judgment requests, as well as matters involving the freedom of individuals. While much (certainly not all) of it has been intriguing, inspiring, and important to my values, none of it has been as rewarding as helping individuals and families create plans for their future through the use of wills and trusts. It has been so rewarding that I decided, years ago, to focus my practice primarily on estate planning. It was one of the best decisions of my life!
As an estate planning attorney I maintain a value of making the estate planning process as simple as possible for the individuals who trust me to assist them. When scheduling an initial consultation with a new client, I am always asked “What should I bring? How can I prepare for our meeting?” With these questions in mind, I suggest that you just “R.E.L.A.X.”, and you will be well prepared to begin this journey. See below…
R – Real Estate/Property – Do you own any property (with or without a mortgage)? Be sure to secure a copy of the deed to any property in which you have an interest. If you don’t have it handy, you can obtain a copy of it from your County. It will also be a good idea to obtain a copy of your most recent tax bill from your local assessor. The tax bill will give us an idea of the approximate value of the property (a safe estimate is provided by doubling the State Equalized Value, or SEV, listed on the tax bill).
E – Enlist fiduciaries – Who would you like to handle matters for you if or when you are unable to do so? We will certainly have this conversation in our meeting. Who do you want to be responsible for handling matters in your will and/or trust once you are gone? Also, who will handle financial matters (banking, bills, etc.), or medical matters (talking to doctors, etc.) on your behalf if you are alive but unable to do so? Who will be guardian of your minor children, if applicable? Take some time to consider these questions as this is very important. You may even want to talk to those individuals ahead of time to make sure they’re on board.
L – Leave assets to whom? – That’s fairly self-explanatory. How do you want your assets distributed once you’re gone? Do you only want your children to receive your assets, or are there any churches or charities that will benefit as well? I will walk you through this consideration a bit further once we meet, providing you with options that best capture your interests in this regard. Therefore, be sure to think this through ahead of time.
A – Asset information – It is very important to identify the types of assets, and their values, when determining the most appropriate plan for you. This, along with the beneficiaries identified above, are the two most important factors in this process. Prior to our meeting, be sure to fully complete the TGQ Law datasheet that can be found on the “resources” page of tgqlaw.com. Be sure to complete the form as well as possible, and then forward the form to us prior to our meeting. That will help our meeting flow smoothly.
X – eXpected issues – Finally, be prepared to identify any expected issue with this process. Are there any broken relationships in your family that you anticipate being the source of conflict as a result of your planning or after you’re gone? Do you expect someone to challenge your will later? Do you have any major health issues that could potentially impact your plan? These and similar questions are very important to discuss. If you’re unsure of their significance, it’s always best to err on the side of caution by providing us with the information. As always, we are held to the highest level of confidentiality, and we take that responsibility very seriously.
So there you have it! There’s no reason to be nervous or overwhelmed in this process. Simply R.E.L.A.X. and all will go well.
We look forward to meeting with you!