You know you need an estate plan. You’re a little fuzzier on the details. You’re not sure what needs to go in your estate plan, only that it’s vital not to forget anything. To help, here’s an estate planning checklist that outlines the most considerations that may need to be addressed.
Will – This is the legal document that states how you want your estate to be distributed after your death. Although this may sound simple, wills can be quite complex and must satisfy state law.
Beneficiary – You need to name the beneficiary or beneficiaries who will receive money or property. Multiple documents (e.g., wills, life insurance policies, retirement plans) can name beneficiaries, so it’s important to consider how they work together to avoid conflict.
Trustee – A trustee may be necessary to manage assets for a beneficiary.
Executor – The executor will be in charge of managing assets and paying debts until assets are distributed to the heirs.
Guardians and Conservators – Estate planning should address the needs of any minors or adults who are unable to manage their affairs. A guardian is appointed to manage health and personal needs, while a conservator is appointed to manage financial affairs.
Incapacitation – Estate planning should address the possibility of incapacitation, such as from an injury or illness. The necessary arrangements can include advanced directives, powers of attorney and revocable trusts.
International Issues – If your spouse is the citizen of another country, or if you have property in another country, you need to discuss how this impacts your estate planning.
Blended Families – If you are part of a blended family, it’s important to consider what issues might arise in order to avoid conflict.
Pets – If you have a beloved pet, make sure your estate plan includes provisions for the animal’s continued care.
Charitable Gifts – Is there a charity you want to include in your estate planning? Whether you want to donate money or a precious art collection, this needs to be included in your estate planning.
Cyber Accounts– You probably have multiple online accounts. You may also have some digital currency. Your estate plan should include what you want to happen to these accounts, as well as how to access them.
Taxes – Various state and federal taxes can impact your estate, and these should be considered when making estate planning decisions.
Life Insurance – A life insurance policy can help keep your estate whole as it passes to the next generation.
Feeling overwhelmed? Relax! An estate planning attorney can guide you through the process. Contact Skinner Law to learn more.