Do I Really Have to Disclose Everything I Own to My Attorney and/or Financial Planner?

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Why Do I Have to Disclose Everything to My Estate Planning Team?

In our experience, some clients are reluctant to reveal everything they own to any single advisor. They may have investment assets with more than one investment advisor or insurance policies with more than one insurance professional. However, when preparing for estate planning it is very important that the attorney (and any other professional advisors on the team) be informed of all assets you own. That is the only way to design a comprehensive plan that will preserve your whole estate. To the estate planning attorney you should disclose everything.

Sometimes clients neglect to list assets because they simply don’t think about them. Is there gold or silver in the safe deposit box at the bank? Are there valuable coins, jewelry, or heirlooms tucked away at home? What about the art collection that hangs on the walls? Are there life insurance policies from decades ago that you have forgotten about because they no longer require premium payments? It’s easy to overlook these assets and to focus only on bank accounts, securities, real estate, and other obvious investments.

Anything you own, whether or not it actually has a recorded title, is part of your taxable estate. It is critical that when it comes to the estate planning process you fully disclose everything you own. The attorney or advisor’s questionnaire will typically provide a comprehensive check- list of assets to guide you.