Build Estate Planning Checklist And Get Prepared

Benefits of having a checklist for estate planning

Estate planning is putting in place structures to protect and provide for your loved ones after your death. The planning is an instruction manual, setting up your financial goals before and after your death. Having a plan can greatly affect your life, both now and in your retirement years.  It can also make a big difference in the future of your spouse, children, and other dependants. When creating a checklist for estate planning, it is important to have good, comprehensive records. 

checklist for estate planning

You can save time and money, eventually

Those who keep good records will have a very easy time when it comes to planning. It helps to save time as well as legal expenses. It is important to begin proper record- keeping practices early in life.  Before setting up a meeting with an attorney, it is important to organize all the information needed to give the complete picture, and to reflect your wishes accurately. Determine your current earnings as well as an estimate of your social security benefits.

The estate attorney will require information such as the accounts held, including checking, savings, and retirement and investment accounts. The name and location of the institutions where the accounts are held is required. You need to note the outstanding loans as well as purchases that are on credit. An estimate of the value of businesses and property will be useful. This includes property like special collections, art, and other rare or unique possessions.

A checklist for estate planning can serve as a point of reference when gathering all the information required. Additional information may be required along the way, but the common requirements include;
•    A list of assets and liabilities, including amounts due and payment dates.
•    Information on other assets not including cash or securities. Real estate, cars, boats and other valuable assets.
•    Copies of important documents such as deeds for real estate property.
•    The names and ages of everyone named as beneficiaries.
•    Copies of any other will that might be in existence.
•    Copies of divorce or annulment documents, if applicable, as well as those relating to adoptions.
•    Current balances and company projections of all employees benefit plan entitlements and individual retirement accounts.
•    Copies of gift tax forms that may have been previously filed.
•    A clear outline of how the property will be distributed.

When coming up with an estate plan, it is important to include contingency plans to be followed in different situations such as, a situation where your spouse, children or other dependent's predecease you. You should have a plan that will cover the children’s interests if you and your spouse die at the same time. You need to decide the age at which the children can have unrestricted access to the property, and who their legal guardian will be, along with details about guardianship rule of minors. You need to designate someone you can trust, to make sure the children’s needs are met.

When creating a checklist for estate planning, you should include a list of any charitable organizations that you intend to mention in your will. Indicate how much or what you intend to leave to them. You should make a note of the planned recipients who you intend to inform about your intentions. Have a specific list been stating the items of property that you want particular people to have? This is a very important step which can help to avoid potential problems.

It is often helpful to discuss financial issues as well as your decision about the estate with your family. When people know what to expect when you are still alive, it reduces the friction once you are gone. Your intentions should be clearly stated in the documents to prevent legal loopholes and future misunderstanding.