When our potential clients are scheduling their first appointments with our firm, they often ask us if they can bring their adult child, or children, with them. We understand this question and why they may ask it. Choosing to create a Florida estate plan, even with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, can feel overwhelming. If you do not have previous experience with a lawyer, it may seem even more so. It is only natural that you may want to make sure to have a second opinion from someone you trust, such as your adult child.
Although we understand your point of view, we do not recommend that your adult child, or children, attend your estate planning appointments. While this may seem counterintuitive to your goals, initially, let us share a few reasons why you do not want to involve your adult child at this point of the estate planning process.
1. Confidentiality. One of the most important things you will establish with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney is confidentiality. He will be able to not only advise you on your legal needs, but you will be able to trust him with the important details surrounding your plans for your legacy, your health, and your long-term wishes. When you have another person in the room with you, you can accidentally waive confidentiality between you and your attorney.
2. Child, or Children? When you say that you want to bring your adult child with you to the first meeting, it begs the question, “Do you have more than one child?” If yes, why did you involve just one of your children and not the others? While it makes sense that this may be the adult child you rely on for healthcare or financial decision making, it also can open the door to the suggestion of undue influence. In other words, you do not want there to be any suspicion that your adult child forced you to make choices that you would not have normally made yourself. You also do not want to cause unnecessary conflict with the children of your client when only one adult child is included over others.
3. Protecting Your Choices. With the above said, you do want to protect your choices and make them yourself. In almost all circumstances, unless you are married or have minor children, you do not have to leave your money or assets to anyone in particular, and you do not have to choose a certain person to make your decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity. The purpose of your meeting with your experienced Florida estate planning attorney is to tell him what you want for yourself, your future, and your legacy. You want to protect the integrity of these choices, especially if there are people such as family members you do not want to be a part of your estate planning future.
These are just a few of the reasons why you do not want your adult child in your Florida estate planning appointment. We know you may have questions and welcome the opportunity to discuss them with you. We also know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our offices in Stuart and in Palm City to learn more.