Even though initial meetings with an estate planning attorney will likely end up with questions you may have never thought of, there are numerous ways in which you can prepare for a thoughtful and productive estate planning meeting that will result in a better understanding of your goals. Read on to learn more and speak with one of our skilled PA wills, trusts & estates attorneys.
1. Guardians and Conservators for Minor Children
If you have children under 18 or are thinking about having children, you should appoint one or more guardians who can be named individually or can serve as a group. Naming a successor in the event that the first guardian is incapable or unwilling to serve is a best practice. This question can be one of the most challenging for couples to answer. If you find you cannot agree, it is crucial that you do not allow this to prevent you from visiting or revisiting your estate plan; your estate planning attorney can supply you with advice, and having some say in the guardian of your children is preferable to permitting a court to decide without any guidance from you.
2. Trustees, Personal Representatives, and Agents Under Durable Power of Attorney
Your assets can be controlled by the Agent under your power of attorney, in the event that you are incapacitated, or by the Personal Representative of your estate after your death. Additionally, the Trustee of your Living Trust is authorized to deal with all assets owned by the Trust in the event of either death or incapacity. It is very common for these three roles to be filled by the same fiduciaries.
3. Personal Property
If there are any particular items of tangible personal property (e.g. cars, clothing, jewelry, artwork, collectibles, etc.) that you would like to be given to someone other than a surviving spouse (or, in the event there is no surviving spouse, to be assigned to specific individuals rather than split as equally as possible among surviving children), compose a list of the items and who should obtain them ahead of your meeting.
4. Patient Advocate Designation and Living Will
A Patient Advocate is named to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so, including carrying out your wishes as described in your Living Will.
5. All Other Property
Are there any items of remaining property that you would like to go to somebody other than a surviving spouse (or, if no surviving spouse, equally to surviving children)? Examples include business interests and real estate, and more.
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