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What does your estate attorney need to know about you?

Estate planning is often something people put off for many reasons. It's uncomfortable to talk about end of life matters. It's tedious to gather all of your financial and other information. It can be overwhelming to consider all of your legal options and possible responsibilities. In some cases, people might be wary of sharing information, even with a professional lawyer.

The truth is, to help you plan appropriately and thoroughly, an estate attorney does need to know a lot about your life. The good news is that a professional lawyer will hold all of the information you share confidential and will only discuss matters with others as you allow or as estate documents and processes require upon your death.

To best help you, an attorney is going to need information about you, your family and other heirs, your business and personal assets and your goals for your estate. You can expedite the estate planning process by bringing some information with you to your first meeting. You'll need demographic information about yourself, such as name, date of birth, address, phone number, and email address. You'll also probably need a list of immediate family members, including spouses, children, and siblings. Eventually, the lawyer is likely to ask about ex-spouses, step children, and other people that might be heirs.

Once you enter the estate planning process, you'll have to answer questions about your financial state. What you own and owe plays a role in what type of estate documents are a good match for your needs. An attorney will also ask about your wishes for burial arrangements, how you want valuables disbursed and whether you are responsible for minor children or anyone who is disabled.

Source: FindLaw, "Prepare to Meet with Estate Planning Lawyer," accessed Nov. 06, 2015

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