Do I Have to Disclose All of My Assets to My Estate Planning Attorney?

Your estate plan is an important investment of your time and money. One of the key goals of your estate plan is usually to pass along as much wealth as possible to your beneficiaries in the most tax beneficial way. Hiring an attorney to accomplish this goal without providing full disclosure of your assets may frustrate that goal.

Full Disclosure to Realize Full Benefits

You have researched and found an experienced estate planning attorney to help you set and achieve all your estate planning goals. You have spent time gathering your information and meeting with your attorney. You understand that the attorney fees you pay today should work to benefit your estate and its beneficiaries in the future. However, if you do not disclose all your assets to your attorney, you may be sabotaging the success of the estate plan you designed.

Start with the Asset Checklist

Before you even have your initial consultation, your attorney’s office will probably send a checklist for you to work on. Not only will this checklist help you organize all of your asset information, but it should also help you identify them. Sometimes, people do not realize that something they have or receive is an asset. Alimony, cryptocurrency, life insurance policies, real estate . . . these are all assets. While the worksheet should help you identify and list your assets, be sure to keep an additional list of anything that is not on the checklist that you think might be an asset so you can ask your attorney.

What Are the Risks of Not Disclosing All My Assets?

If you do not disclose all of your assets, your attorney can not do the job that you have hired them for. Estate planning, which may include a lot of tax planning, is a complicated area of law that is detail driven. In order to obtain the best results for you, your attorney needs to know your complete financial picture.

For example, if you do not disclose an asset to your attorney that is large enough to push your estate over the threshold that triggers federal estate taxes; your attorney will not be able to create a plan that accomplishes your key goal—passing along as much of your wealth as possible to your beneficiaries without a tax consequence. When that asset comes to light, the financial consequences to your estate may be significant and pose a burden on your beneficiaries as they figure out which assets to sell within the necessary timelines in order to pay the tax bills.

With a complete financial picture at hand and your estate planning attorney’s knowledge and experience, you will be able to create an effective estate plan that works at the time it is needed.

Work with an experienced Virginia Estate Planning Attorney

The attorney-client relationship is an important partnership based on trust. We work hard to earn your trust. Contact Wilson Law PLC today at 866-603-5976 to set up a meeting or fill out our contact form and we’ will call you to schedule your meeting.