By ES (14)
Boy, they make it complicated. I recently received a newsletter from a national investment firm that recommended that its clients consult with an estate planning attorney. Great advice!
Furthermore, the firm recommended that prior to meeting with the attorney, the client marshal a ton of paper, including inventories of:
Jewelry and watches
- Social Security Card
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificate
- Decree of divorce and/or annulment
- Medical Information
- Health care ID card
- List of health care providers
- Medical records
- Benefits handbook or Web site address and online login ID and password
- Contact information for Human Resources
- Titles to cemetery plots
- Contracts for prepaid services
- Internment preferences
- Service preferences
- Contact information for friends and relatives
Good grief! Are you kidding me?! Nobody should have to prepare for a meeting with their estate planning lawyer as though it were an IRS audit. If I asked my prospective clients to prepare this sort of make-work, I wouldn’t have any clients.
The reason the client doesn’t need minutiae for a living trust is it’s irrelevant. Most clients come to me for estate planning, not tax planning. The vast majority of Americans has estates valued at under $5.25 million, and therefore need no tax planning.
I keep it simple. All I ask my clients and prospects to prepare for the initial meeting is:
- Contact information for their beneficiaries.
- Contact information for their agents and personal representatives.
- Contact information for their doctor.
- Think about who gets what.
The rest of the information I need to begin drafting an effective living trust is gleaned during the face-to-face client meeting. Estate planning shouldn’t have to be a drag!
Thanks for reading!