I am often asked, “what should I bring to our first meeting?” Although you have no homework, doing the following will help:
Watch this video I have created to provide an overview of the issues we will discuss when we meet.
Print the pre-interview form and bring it with you.
Regarding your assets, in addition to having a rough idea of your net worth, it is helpful to segregate the assets that have beneficiary designations and the assets that do not, i.e., those that just have title. For most married couples, the couples’ joint assets are held with a survivorship right. A typical list of assets for a married couple would be the following:
|Assets||Mr. Smith||Mrs. Smith||Joint|
(IRA and 401(k))
(IRA and 40(k))
(stocks, bonds, bank accounts)
Perhaps there is a second home or closely held business interest?
Seeing the information in this format provides a good start for our first meeting and ultimately is essential to determine whether there is a taxable estate and how to avoid probate. Obviously, this exercise is also necessary for single clients.
In addition to the assets, you will decide who is your Executor and Trustee (typically spouse first if married) and, if children under age 18, who is their Guardian. We will also discuss trust provisions for children and how to protect an adult child’s inheritance from divorce.
Ultimately the tools we will use are a power of attorney, medical directive, will and revocable trust.