Estate Planning Checklist

In today’s busy world, we often concentrate on raising our families and fail to take into account the potential risk for an unexpected event, such as the death of a spouse, which can leave our financial life in disarray.

Regardless of age and health, no one likes to think about planning for when they are gone.

However, one of the greatest gifts you can leave your survivors is an organized estate. By taking the time to create an estate plan now, you will help your loved ones cope later and you will also ensure that your wishes are carried out.

Organizing, finalizing and handling an estate plan requires ample time, money and effort. Every decision you make can affect yours and your loved one’s futures down the road.

When considering estate planning, you will want to have an estate planning checklist that lists all of your assets, family and friends, and individuals involved in the disposition of your assets and liabilities.

The following is a simplified checklist to help you get started on organizing your estate. It’s also a good idea to discuss your plans with your loved ones and whoever you choose to be the executor of your will.

  1. Make or update your will – or state laws and courts will make your decisions for you
  2. Consider a living will – outlining any medical procedures you want to don’t want
  3. Durable powers of attorney – appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated (one dealing with your personal, legal and financial affairs and one dealing with health-care decisions)
  4. Create a letter of instruction – provides information on your funeral wishes, people to contact, where key papers can be found, financial accounts, etc.
  5. Calculate your net worth if you have substantial monies, assets
  6. Establish a trust – holds property designated by you for the benefit of you and your beneficiaries
  7. Consider funeral pre-planning – relieves stress on your survivors
  8. Make arrangements for the transfer of business assets if applicable

Estate planning is the process of making your final decisions, which can be personal, financial or legal. Safeguarding your family’s financial security by Wills or Trusts is a critical process. At the Orange County family law offices of Amy M. Montes, we know that this process is one of the most important provisions that one considers, even early on in life.

Let us help you establish a plan for protecting the future benefit of your loved ones.