Estate Planning Checklist

When most people I work with start the process of doing some estate planning, they get overwhelmed with the “paperwork” portion of their lives.

One of the first things you would want to do is make sure all your records are up to date and accessible. This is a challenge, I understand, but a very necessary step.

If you are having trouble facing your paperwork, how do you think someone else will feel when you are no longer available to answer questions?

There is an easy way to approach this.

Review the process in home filing systems to make sure all your documentation is organized and filed in a manner that someone can follow. Make sure someone in your family, or a trusted friend, knows where the files are located.

Another important thing to do is create an inventory of everything in your home.

Many times people have valuable items (whether sentimental or worth) in their home and forget to include them in estate planning.

These items then become a problem for family members who may all lay a claim to the item.

Visit everything I own for all the information you will need to do a good home inventory.

Once you have done these two things, then you can start working on a complete estate plan.

Some of the questions you will need to answer before starting to use an estate planning checklist are as follows:

  1. Do I have an Estate Planning or Elder Law Attorney? If not, find one.
  2. Do I have a current personal financial statement? If not, visit personal financial 101 and start to put a statement together.
  3. Is there a potential I may need a trust? See my discussion On ESTATE PLANNING AND TRUSTS for some information on trust accounts.
  4. Do I have a CPA to help with the tax side of estate planning? If not, the attorney will be able to help you find one.
  5. Do I have a business to protect? If yes, documents within your business (such as a buy/sell agreement) will need to be considered.
  6. Do I know who I would appoint as guardians for my children? Have I discussed this with them?
  7. Do I know who will be the executor of my estate? Have I discussed this with them?
  8. Have I considered funeral arrangements? What are my wishes?

Once you have considered and answered all the above questions, download this ESTATE PLANNING CHECKLIST. It is in PDF format, so make sure you have Adobe so you can also print this checklist.

Do you live in Canada? Check out this great website I found for estate planning in Canada. There is a FREE estate planning checklist AND consultation for Canadians.

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