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Things To Bring With You

The following will attempt to summarize the documents you should bring with you to a first meeting with your attorney in the estate planning process.  

Property can be real property or personal property.  Personal property can be tangible (you can touch or feel it) or intangible (can't touch this).  

Real Property

Real property is real estate, land, improvements, homes, etc. For each piece of real property that you own you should bring your closing file from your original purchase of the property and from any subsequent refinancing of the property.   Important documents from the closing files will include the warranty deed from the seller to you and the HUD-1 form.  the HUD-1 form is the long form that has all the numbers (such as purchase price and closing costs) on it.  

To summarize, bring the following:

  • Closing file
  • HUD-1 form
  • Warranty Deed
  • Note
  • Tax bills

Tangible Personal Property

Tangible personal property are items such as automobiles, jewelry, and lawnmowers.  Of course we are much more interested in the value of your automobiles and jewelry than in the value of your lawn equipment.  For each item of tangible personal property for which you have an appraisal you should bring the appraisal.  For each item with a value in excess of $5,000.00 you should at least separately note the value of the item.  For all the rest you should make an educated guess at the total value of the items.  Come to the meeting with these documents and notes.  

To summarize, bring the following:

  • List of particularly valuable personal property
  • Appraisals

Intangible Personal Property 

There are many kinds of intangible personal property.  For most intangible personal property there is a piece of paper that represents that property.  For bank and brokerage accounts the paper is you account statement.  For these types of property bring your most recent statement.  For CDs, some stock, and bonds there may be a certificate evidencing your ownership.  Bring these certificates.  For life insurance policies that have cash value there will be a contract, the policy, and at least annual statements, bring all these documents.  For term life insurance policies there will be only the policy, bring them.  In short bring at least the most recent piece of paper corresponding to each piece of intangible property you own.  

To summarize, bring the most recent statement or piece of paper corresponding to each of the following:

  • Bank accounts
  • Brokerage accounts
  • CDs
  • Stock certificates
  • Life insurance policy
  • Statement as to cash value of any life insurance policy
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Last modified: December 05, 2006