What Information and Documents Should I Gather Before I Meet With an Attorney to Prepare My Will?

The better you prepare for your first meeting with the estate planning lawyer you have chosen to prepare your will, the more productive this meeting will be. Your lawyer will thank you if you make his or her job easier by gathering the following and other important types of information, as well as any necessary supporting documents, ahead of time and bringing it to the meeting.

Identification Information

Bring a list of the legal names of the following people:

  • Yourself
  • Your spouse or partner
  • Your children, both biological and adopted
  • Any family member or other person you want to mention in your will
  • Any family member you want to disinherit and your reasons therefor
  • Any charity, church or school you want to make a bequest to
  • Your desired executor
  • Your desired guardian(s) for your minor children if you die before they reach the age of majority

Financial Information

Bring the documentation for the following types of financial assets you currently own and who, if anyone, you own them with or on which you’ve placed beneficiary or payable-on-death designations:

  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement or pension plans and accounts
  • Life insurance policies

Real Estate Information

Bring copies of any warranty or other deeds you have to the real estate or real estate interests you own.

Personal Property Information

If you want to leave specific items of personal property, such as vehicles, jewelry, tools, fishing gear, etc. to specific people, bring a list that states this. Likewise bring copies of any copyrights, patents or trademarks you have on your intangible personal property, such as books, songs, computer programs, inventions, etc. that you have created.

Business Information

If you own a business or a partnership or other interest in a business, bring copies of all the ownership documents you have in relation to it or them.

Contractual or Court Information

If you are divorced, bring a copy of your divorce decree. Likewise, if you and your current spouse or partner signed a prenuptial agreement, bring a copy of it.

Current Estate Planning Documents

Be sure to bring copies of any existing estate planning documents you currently have in effect, such as the following:

  • Any will you previously made
  • Any trusts you created
  • Any powers of attorney you executed

Summing Up

While all this may seem like an exorbitant amount of information and documentation to gather before meeting with an estate planning attorney to prepare your will, remember that your will is one of the most important legal documents you will ever sign. Consequently, you want it to be accurate, unambiguous and not in conflict with any other legal documents you possess. If you have questions about estate planning, contact an estate planning lawyer in Cypress, TX, like the offices of Winfrey Law Firm for a consultation.