There are people who make lists and those who don’t. But when it comes to estate planning, people who have decided to write their estate plans will find that a checklist will come in handy to make sure they have all the documents they need. It’s not good enough to amass these documents; they must also be legally correct or they may be considered invalid.
What should an estate planning checklist include?
There is more to planning an estate than simply writing a will, although this is an extremely important document to include. There are some things you can do to make the estate planning process easier, and it begins with a checklist of important items:
- List all assets. Important things like property, investments, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, life insurance, antiques, heirlooms and the like should be included. This will help to determine who gets what.
- List all liabilities. This should include things like mortgages, lines of credit, loans and credit card debt. This will make it easier for an executor to administer the estate plan.
- Name beneficiaries.
- Name the person(s) chosen to act as power of attorney.
- Name an executor of the estate.
- Choose a guardian for any minor children.
- Spell out how any family members with special needs will be provided for.
If there are pets, it should be listed who will be taking care of them. If you specific personal items to go to specific people, they should also be listed. Business owners should also speak to transfer-of-business issues.
You may have personal goals that you want to address in your estate plan. There is no cookie-cutter way of doing things, but there are legalities to follow. An estate planning lawyer can help you ensure that your plan will be legally binding and serve the purpose you intend.