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Friday, January 28, 2022

Estate Planning Checklist

Have you put an estate plan in place yet? A strong estate plan does more than plan for the distribution of your assets after you die and, while asset distribution is important, there are other elements of estate planning that are critical as well. An estate plan can protect your wishes for your loved ones and yourself for the future. Should you face expected or unexpected health complications down the road, there are estate planning documents that can help protect your wishes. To help you get a better understanding of what goes on, or what should go on during the estate planning process, here is our estate planning checklist overview.

Estate Planning Checklist

While asset planning and distribution is not the only part of estate planning, it is certainly important. A good place to start on your estate planning checklist is to take an inventory of your assets. This includes assets big in financial value and those great in sentimental value. Take stock of your items and value them. This can include listing the value of your home, cars, jewelry, and investment accounts as well as bank accounts.

You should also gather documentation regarding your assets. This will mean getting your recent bank statements together as well as those from any investment accounts you may have. Put all of this together with things like life insurance policy information. Note these accounts and policies on your inventory list and detail whether there is a beneficiary designation on them and, if so, who is listed as the beneficiary.

Your inventory will give you a solid foundation for the rest of your estate planning to-do list. You will next want to determine which estate planning tools will best serve your goals. For instance, do you want a will, a trust, or both. What tools you put in place will depend on your individual circumstances as well as your goals and priorities. Many people, for instance, want to plan their estate in a way that avoids probate in whole or in part. To do this, considering a trust over a will for asset distribution may be the best option for you. The same is true if asset protection is a priority for you as well.

Another important estate planning document that should be on your checklist is a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint an agent of your choice who will be empowered to manage your affairs, such as legal and financial management, should you become incompetent or incapacitated and be unable to manage such things for yourself. A durable power of attorney can help ensure your affairs continue to be properly managed throughout some of the major bumps that can appear in the road of life. It will also help avoid the necessity of having a guardianship or conservatorship established.

You will also want to have a healthcare power of attorney and living will on your estate planning checklist. A healthcare power of attorney will empower a trusted individual of your choosing to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you be declared incompetent or incapacitated. A living will allows you to detail your end of life care preferences including any treatment you wish to receive or not to receive should your condition be terminal.

Another important point on your estate planning checklist should be considering and selecting those individuals who will serve in roles of responsibility in your estate planning documents. Carefully consider who you want to serve as personal representative of your estate and who you wish to act as agents under powers of attorney. These are big decisions and a variety of factors should be carefully considered.

Estate Planning Attorney

The team at Monk Law is here to help you successfully check through your estate planning to do list so that you have a strong, comprehensive estate plan in place. Contact Monk Law today.


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| Phone: 803-594-4453
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| Phone: 704-369-9977

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