If you have decided it's time to visit a probate attorney and to make a plan for how your estate will be handled after your death, then listed below is the information you need to bring along with you to your consultation appointment:
A Basic List of Your Assets and Liabilities
To formulate the best plan of action for your future estate, your probate lawyer needs a basic understanding of your assets and liabilities. Rather than showing up in their office with a massive file of statements and other paperwork, simply write down each asset you own and its approximate value as well as each liability you owe and how much the debt is. As you create the list, also include any assets you own jointly with another person and indicate your percentage of ownership and the name of the co-owner.
Names of Beneficiaries of Your Accounts or Assets
If you have life insurance policies, bank accounts, or other assets with beneficiaries listed on them, then your probate attorney needs to have their name, address, and the current approximate worth of each.
The Names and Ages of Your Minor Children and How You Wish Them to Inherit from You
If you have minor children, then you will need to list someone to care for your children in your will. In addition, if you will be leaving them any of your assets, your attorney needs to work with you to discover the most advantageous way to transfer them.
For example, if you have a child living with a disability, then your probate attorney will likely suggest a special needs trust be created for this purpose. Or if your children will need care until they reach adulthood, then a different type of trust can be created to provide their caregiver with the funds necessary to cover their needs.
Notes About Special Items You Want to Pass Along
If you have any family heirlooms or special items you want to leave with certain people, then you need to make a list to share with your probate attorney as they help you plan for your estate.
The Names of People You Want to Probate Your Estate
Finally, you will need to determine who you want to probate your estate when the time comes. In addition to this one trusted person, you also will need to specify a couple of backup options if something were to happen to that person before the time comes.