Prepare for Meeting your Attorney to Discuss Estate Plan


it can help save you money.

You are ready to finally go ahead and get that Will done.  Everyone has been nagging you about it, but you never wanted to deal with it.  You never had enough money, you didn’t know who you wanted to leave it to, and you were afraid to talk about dying.  But, now you are ready to do it.  There are a few things you will want to do prior to meeting with your attorney.  These few steps will save you both time and money.

The first thing you need to do is to collect and organize all of your documents that:

1. Show where your money and property are located.

2. Show how much that property is worth and how much it costs.

3. Show who owns these assets and how they are owned.

These documents can and should include bank statements, insurance papers, employment benefit papers, deeds, business records, titles to property and tax records.  In addition, you will also want to bring any contracts or agreements you have entered into regarding your finances, i.e. divorce agreement or pre-nuptual agreement.  These papers assist your attorney in deciding what estate planning documents are necessary to provide you and your heirs the greatest opportunity to retain your money within the family, and not lose it to attorneys, taxes or the courts.

In addition, you should prepare a list of all your assets and debts.  While this may seem time-consuming now, it will need to be done at some time.  Either you can prepare it now, while you are alive and know where everything is… or you can let your heirs and attorneys prepare it later at a tremendous cost, with the risk that not everything will be found, thereby leaving your heirs without their proper inheritance.

Finally, prepare a list indicating who you want to receive your property after you die.  You should also begin to think about who you would want to manage your affairs when you die, and who you would want to care for your minor children.

Bank of America Halting Foreclosures

Bank of America halting foreclosure is 23 states including Illinois.  We are starting to see a trend.  This is now the third major lender to make this announcement in recent weeks.  GMAC and Chase have also halted foreclosure proceedings.

While this will assist homeowners who were facing foreclosure, by giving them the gift of time to stay in their homes, the interesting thing to watch will be the impact of these announcements on current short sale negotiations with lenders, as well as the impact on the real estate market itself. On the one hand, this may make short sales easier to negotiate as these banks have no fall back position to proceed with a foreclosure proceeding.  On the other hand, the longer these defaulted properties sit without going through the foreclosure process and going back on the market as a bank owned property, the longer it will be until we can truly hit rock bottom prices in the market and expect any meaningful turnaround in prices.  Stay tuned and see how this all plays out.