Estate Planning Checklist
What Is Estate Planning, and Why Is It Important?
Estate planning can be defined as the legal process through which you decide how your finances and other assets will be handled after you pass.
However, while that may serve as a technical definition, estate planning truly means so much more. A detailed estate plan has the power to protect the legacy you’ve dedicated your life to building and to sustain your loved ones for generations to come. And if the unthinkable happens, having a plan in place can shield your family from financial hardships and allow them the time and energy they need to grieve.
While we can’t predict the future, we can prepare for it. If you’re getting ready to formally draft or review your estate plan, you may have multiple questions. What all is involved in creating an estate plan? What should I know before meeting with an attorney? Do I need to do any prep work?
Empower yourself with knowledge of what goes into creating an estate plan — review our checklist below to get started.
Then, consider calling us at Moses Estate Planning, PLLC. Our attorney, Travor Moses, is passionate about helping families avoid probate and safeguard their assets through mindful and detailed estate planning. We proudly serve clients in Coeur d’Alene and Northern Idaho as well in Los Angeles and Southern California.
Comprehensive Estate Planning Checklist
Define the goals you want to achieve with your estate plan.
Before drafting or updating your plan, it’s essential to know your personal goals and vision for your legacy. These will provide the framework for your estate plan’s elements and construction. As a starting point, ask yourself these questions:
What is your financial situation? How can you make the most of it?
Who are your beneficiaries? What are their needs?
What are your philanthropic goals? Are there any causes that are meaningful to you that you’d like to set up a charitable trust for?
Who should be responsible for distributing your assets?
What kind of medical care do you wish to receive if you become incapacitated? Who would you want to appoint to make financial, legal, and healthcare decisions?
What are your funeral, burial, and/or cremation preferences?
If you have minor children, or any dependents with special needs, who would you name as their guardian?
Do you have a business? If so, what are your plans for its succession?
Make a list of assets.
Set aside time to take inventory of your assets. This will help paint a detailed picture of what you’re working with and allow you to understand how to best protect all that you own. In your estate plan, you’ll want to address the value of your home and other assets, including cars and other vehicles, jewelry, artwork, furniture, secondary residences or properties, and any other valuables.
Identify your finances and debts.
You will need to outline your financial standing. Begin by gathering statements from:
And you should make a list of:
The location and contents of any safety deposit boxes or safes
All your insurance policies, including their cash values and death benefits
Any financial liabilities, including:
Lines of credit
Other loans or debts
Meet with an estate planning attorney.
Once you’ve outlined your goals and taken inventory of your assets and financial portfolio, prepare to meet with an estate planning attorney in your area. Our law firm has locations in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Los Angeles, California. We possess a vast knowledge of probate and estate planning law in both states and are ready to help you draft your will, medical and financial powers of attorney, trust documents, and more.
A quality attorney will take the time to get to know you and your goals so that you can collaborate on your estate planning documents effectively and efficiently. At Moses Estate Planning, we aim to help families avoid probate through the use of revocable living trusts. And, we excel at asset protection planning through entity formation and domestic irrevocable trust structures. If one of your goals is to shield your heirs from the difficulties of probate, and you’re in or near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, or Los Angeles, California, consider working with our attorney.
Plan for the Future, Today
It’s never too early to begin your estate plan; but, it can be too late. If you pass away unexpectedly and don’t have an up-to-date plan for your heirs to follow, they may face the risk of financial vulnerability and a stressful probate process. Don’t wait to update your will or other documents — seek help from a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer today.
Our attorney is adept at simplifying the complex estate planning process through friendly and compassionate service backed by experience. Start designing the future of your legacy today. Call us at Moses Estate Planning, with any questions or to schedule a consultation with our lawyer.