How to Begin Estate Planning
Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by Paul Dunn
Estate Planning Checklist
To plan an estate the most important item needed is information. Following is an Estate Planning Checklist of the information generally needed when getting started with estate planning:
- A current and fairly detailed financial statement listing major assets and liabilities.
- Deeds, sales contracts, leases, and related documents for all real estate owned or being acquired.
- Titles to all owned or leased vehicles and other licensed equipment, such as trailers.
- All promissory notes — even from family members.
- Anticipated gifts or inheritances of sizable nature.
- All life insurance and annuity policies on family members, including any group insurance policies. Beneficiary designations are extremely important and definitely needed.
- All documents for retirement plans, including employer-provided plans, self-employed (HR-10, Keogh) plans, and Individual Retirement Accounts (I.R.A.s). Beneficiary designations and settlement options are extremely critical and definitely needed.
- All business agreements, including stock purchase or redemption agreements.
- Pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements.
- Current Wills, trust agreements, and general and medical powers of attorney.
- Most recently filed federal income tax return
- All filed gift tax returns
- Contact information for personal advisors – attorneys, bankers, insurance agents, accountants, stock brokers, and physicians.
- Contact information for children or other intended beneficiaries.
All additional documents and information the client believes should be reviewed or will be helpful to establish the value and extent of the client’s estate and the types of assets comprising the client’s estate.
Because everyone has different circumstances, not all of the above items listed will be applicable to their particular situation. This checklist is merely a guideline to be followed in preparing for an initial estate planning appointment.