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Estate Planning Checklist

Estate Planning Checklist


When you are planning for retirement, the possibility of elder care, and death it is important to have an estate plan.  When considering estate planning you will want to have an estate planning checklist.  An estate planning checklist is a list of all your assets, family and friends, individuals involved in the disposition of your assets, and your liabilities.  When meeting with your estate planning lawyer one of the first things that you will do is to create an estate planning checklist.

The first step to creating an estate planning checklist is compiling a list of your friends and issue that may or may not receive a bequest in your will, trust, intestacy, or other form of testamentary or non-testamentary document.  This list of individuals is important to help the individual decide who to, and how much, of his, or her, assets should be allocated, if at all, to certain people.  If you are married your estate will take on a different form than if you are a single individual.  It is important for your estate planning lawyer to know this information so he, or she, can plan your estate when considering spousal shares, tenancy by the entirety and other benefits that the spouse of a deceased person will be entitled to.

Once you have compiled your list of possible beneficiaries then you will need to take account of all your assets.  Compile a list of all your real property; whether you own it outright, in joint tenancy, tenancy in common, or tenancy by the entirety.  List any life insurance policies, non-residential real property, any cash, bank accounts; including totten trusts and joint bank accounts, any trusts; revocable or irrevocable, and personal assets including: heirlooms, automobiles, antiques, furniture, and any other personal items that will be important at the time of distribution to your heirs. 

The next thing you will want to do is to compile a list of those individuals who are in charge of managing your property.  This includes any guardians, executors, and trustees.  You should also have secondary individuals who will take over those duties in the event that they predecease you.  Also give information, in your estate planning checklist, about powers of attorney, health care, community property, and living wills.

Estate planning checklists are the initial step that your estate planning lawyer will use in order to assess whether you should opt for a revocable trust, irrevocable trust, or a will.  Estate planning checklists also help to direct assets into testamentary and non-testamentary funds.  Estate planning checklists are necessary so that your estate planning lawyer can help you avoid estate taxes and shield your family and friends inheritance from creditors and the government.  Estate planning checklists are also important to create asset protection in the event that you need to be put into an elder care situation.  Elder care can deplete your savings and assets quickly and medicare does not assist in the payment.  An estate planning checklist will aide your estate planning lawyer in helping you protect your assets by placing them in non-testamentary accounts.  An estate planning checklist will also help you avoid the expensive and lengthy probate process.