It’s critically important to perform certain tasks to get your estate in order in the event of your demise. We never know when that’ll happen, so it’s prudent to do so even when you’re young and healthy.
Let’s go over some key items from this estate planning checklist to help you see if you’re managing your estate properly.
Estate Planning Checklist
- Draft a will. This should be the first thing you do because wills and trusts are the cornerstone of estate planning. If you’re an adult and own anything, you need to have a plan for where it goes when you die.
- Determine who will serve as the personal representative of your estate. This is the person who holds key decision-making and administrative power over your estate after you pass. It’s wise to select someone you trust and has the capability of maturely handling assets. In ideal circumstances, this is someone who holds a positive sway with the rest of your family, and can prevent quarrels and misunderstandings easily.
- Avoid all the probate entanglements by assigning pay-on-death (POD) transfer-on-death (TOD) designations to your accounts. What falls under this? All of your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and CD accounts should have a TOD. And put other assets into a revocable trust.
- Create a detailed inventory of all the physical assets you own in and around your home. This should list anything valuable such as computers, televisions, jewelry, lawn-care equipment, collectors coins, antiques, and so forth.
- Keep track of all your debts and document them clearly. Make a list of every credit card, student loan, auto loan, and property mortgage you have.
- Build a habit of reviewing all your estate documents, at least annually. Since life changes, including beneficiary status, these things need updating from time to time.
- In regards to the last point, always make sure you review all of your retirement accounts with the same frequency. This should include everything from IRAs to life insurance, annuities, and other stocks, bonds, and securities.
- Don’t forget to complete all the other important documents like power of attorney, health care proxy, and any necessary guardianship assignments for minors.
- Visit an estate attorney, like Ken Nota, to help you make sure your wills, trusts, and other legal documents are in accordance with all the relevant legislation.
If any of these items or suggestions appear foreign to you, then don’t hesitate to reach out to Ken Nota’s law office for further guidance. His entire mission as a business and estate attorney is to assist Florida clients with estate preparation and handling all the tricky minutiae.
The Law Office of Kenneth J. Nota specializes in estate planning, real estate law, outside general counsel, and more. For more information, feel free to contact him at 941-309-5270.