A note from Genevieve Wall to prospective clients about the information we request from you before starting work on your case:
Before your initial consultation with me, I will send you a questionnaire. I will ask that you complete the questionnaire and bring several documents with you to your appointment, such as prior estate planning documents, including Trusts, Wills, Deeds, and financial statements, so that I may better get to know you and understand your needs.
You may be hesitant to provide this information to me; without a full understanding of how the information will be used, it may seem like I’m trying to pry or learn more about you than is necessary. However, whether you come to see me for estate planning, estate and trust administration, or probate administration, the information that I request on the client questionnaire guides me as I make my legal recommendations to you and and as I follow through with them for you. The more accurate the information you provide to me, the stronger my recommendations will be, leading to a greater outcome for you.
Below are a few examples of information I request from you and how I use that information for your benefit.
1. Social Security Numbers and Dates of Birth – I often use this information to complete beneficiary designation forms for retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, and life insurance policies, as well to prepare life insurance claim forms and probate documents. I use this information only when absolutely necessary and take precautions to ensure that any documentation containing this information is shredded when it is no longer needed.
2. Information Regarding Your Assets – Your assets, income, and finances play a large role in helping me determine which options are best for you. If you provide accurate information about these topics, it will help me determine if estate tax planning is recommended for your estate plan, make recommendations about buying long-term care insurance or planning for your retirement, or identify what steps will be required as you complete the probate process. My recommendations can only be as strong as the information you provide to me; if you request my assistance but fail to disclose all of your assets at your initial consultation, the likelihood that I will later need to re-work your estate plan or delay the work on the administration of an estate increases dramatically. I want to achieve the best outcome for you, but can only do so with an accurate understanding of the assets and finances involved.
3. Contact Information for Your Children and Other Family Members – It is important for me to have this information for estate planning for the purpose of including it in your Advance Medical Directive, or Power of Attorney, as well as using it to be able to complete several of the forms mentioned above. In the estate administration and probate process I need to know who your children and other family members are in order to determine who is entitled to notices that are required by law. I will never contact your children or other family members without your permission, and will only use this information as necessary.
These are just a few examples of why I ask for information listed in my client questionnaire and how I use this information for your benefit. If you ever have a question about why I have requested certain information, please do not hesitate to contact me; I will be happy to discuss it with you.
I take your privacy very seriously and will never disclose your information to third parties without your prior consent. For more information about my legal services, please visit the homepage of my website or contact me at 949-859-0861.