Estate planning can feel overwhelming.
The good news is that with the help, this process can go much more smoothly and efficiently than many anticipated.
I thought I would share a general checklist that I send to my clients who are preparing to create or update an estate plan.
Beneficiary Designations: Make sure you name a beneficiary for all non-probate assets, including 401(k)s, IRAs, life insurance policies, pensions, and bank accounts. For those who already have an estate plan, it’s important to ensure that the person currently named is still the person you want to be the beneficiary.
Financial Power of Attorney: Choose someone you trust who can make financial decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so.
Advanced Healthcare Directive: Ensure your medical preferences are followed using a living will. In addition, you’ll want to name a trustworthy friend or family member (often a spouse, parent, or child) as your medical power of attorney. This person will make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so.
Name a Digital Executor: In this day and age, it’s wise to name a digital executor. This person can follow instructions you leave regarding all of your digital assets, such as bank accounts, social media, digital files, photos, and online storage.
Proof of Identity: Make sure all of these documents, including your marriage license/divorce certificates, Social Security card, and prenuptial agreements, are in one place and easy to locate.
Property Deeds and Titles: Confirm that all deeds and titles are up to date and in an easy-to-locate place–and if you’ve established a trust, make sure to retitle your property to list the trust as the owner.
Funeral Instructions: Make a list of your preferences regarding your funeral and place it with your will and other important documents. List your preferences, such as whether or not you wish to be cremated, a passage you want someone to read, or a list of preferred charities for donations.
Insurance Information Gather all of your policies and make sure your executor knows where they are and what to do with the information.
While this is not an exhaustive checklist, it’s a good jumping-off point to work from in consultation with an estate planning professional.
That said, if you have any questions about estate planning or would like to set up an appointment to create or update your plan, please give me a call. I’m here to help.