We’ll walk you through how to create and formalize your estate plan with our step-by-step estate planning checklist.
1. Take inventory.
First things first, you can’t do much to prepare an estate plan without knowing what you have. Make a list of everything you own, which includes the following:
- Real property
- Cars, boats, trains, and planes
- Gather statements from your banks, brokerage accounts, and retirement accounts.
- Gather information on any stock or stock options
- Gather information related to any cryptocurrency holdings
- Make a list of insurance policies, whether self-purchased or through an employer
- Any business ownership interests, including whether you have already prepared a business succession plan or would rather have your business liquidated upon your death
- List out all your liabilities, including any mortgages, lines of credit, or debts.
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2. Drafting & Thinking about Your Wishes
When you set up a meeting with your attorney, they’ll go through various options for you to consider. These may include things like:
- Who you’d like your assets to go to, and how much to who
- Who will be responsible for caring for your minor children
- Who will be responsible for handling your financial affairs if something happens to you
- Who will be responsible for making medical decisions for you, if you’re unable to
- Who will be responsible for distributing your assets and confirming your wishes
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney will guide you to make some of these decisions, which can be a sticking point for people.
3. Funding Your Estate Plan
At this point, you’ve met with an attorney and provided answers to the questions they’ve asked about your wishes. As part of this, most attorneys include a pour-over will, medical and financial powers of attorney, and trust documents.
Generally, we do something called “funding your trust”. This means that we will retitle your real property and record these documents to ensure the agreement takes effect.
This process needs to be updated for your bank and brokerage accounts, and you always want to stay up to date with your beneficiary designations on life insurance policies as well.
Our estate planning attorneys will be able to answer questions about asset titling and beneficiary designations.If you’d like to discuss your situation schedule a call with Elena Rivkin for a case evaluation.