Having done estate planning for over 35 years, I hold fond memories of, and appreciation for, the individual or couple who answers that question well. I simply refer to them as a model client.
The model client will bring the following information to our first meeting:
- Family information. The full names and dates of birth of children and grandchildren, if any, are helpful.
- Trusted helpers. The model client knows who to appoint or designate as a trusted helper or fiduciary. Who should act as the personal representative under a will, an agent under a durable power of attorney (financial and health care), trustee under a trust, and a guardian and conservator for minor children? Who should be the successor person if the initially appointed person cannot serve?
- Goals. What should the planning accomplish?
- Assets. The model client usually knows his, her or their net worth financially and provides a written summary of their assets showing type, value and ownership.
- Current estate planning documents. The model client brings current estate planning documents, if any.
The information shared by the model client makes for a productive first meeting. The information allows me as a professional to make a recommendation for the model client’s consideration. The above information shared by the model client answers well the question what should I bring?