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What topics should be included in an estate planning consultation between attorney and client?

Posted by Neil Thompson | Apr 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Clients are often unaware of what is important in the estate planning discussion. They do not volunteer information that the attorney should know. The attorney should have a checklist or agenda for meetings with the client to ensure they are eliciting all information that is relevant to the planning process. This includes information concerning the client's:

1. Basic information (date of birth, contact information, citizenship, marital status);

2. Family and others who would be entitled to probate property in the absence of a will, including predeceased children and any family members or beneficiaries with special needs or considerations;

3. Assets, including the form of ownership, identity of any co-owners, and designated beneficiaries;

4. Liabilities, including the terms of any notes or mortgages;

5. Prior transfers of assets;

6. Present and prospective interests in trusts and estates; and

7. Fiduciary selection (attorney-in-fact, personal representative, executor, trustee, guardian).

The attorney should also clearly communicate the terms of the engagement (hourly rate or fee charged by the attorney, and whether a retainer is required). If the attorney is meeting with a married couple, the attorney should obtain a dual representation agreement whereby each spouse waives any conflict of interest with the other spouse

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Neil Thompson

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