Estate Planning: A Checklist to Start Today

Did you know that Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, and Michael Jackson all hadn’t made a will when they died?

While you might not be a global celebrity with an estate quite as large as any of these, not planning a will can still cause a lot of trouble. Family feuds and unfulfilled wishes can arise if you don’t, leaving a mess for your loved ones.

No matter how big or small your estate, it’s vital you make plans for it. Luckily, it isn’t too tricky to do, and we’ve put together a handy checklist to help you out!

Start conducting your estate planning today.

Estate Planning is More Than a Will

Before getting into the checklist, it’s important to know that estate planning means more than making a will. You should be accounting for your entire collection of assets and making arrangements for smooth transfers to their desired recipient. Last wishes should also be made clear.

Estate Planning Checklist

Don’t panic if you don’t have an estate planning attorney and how to get started arranging yours! We’ve put together an estate planning checklist to teach you more.

Start by Itemizing Inventory

Begin by making a simple list of all valuable items you own. Include jewelry, art, cars, computers, and anything else that’s worth something and that you would like to give to a specific recipient.

Add Non-Physical Assets

Add to your list any assets that aren’t physical. This could include 401(k) plans, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and brokerage accounts. Note down account numbers and the location of any necessary documents to your list.

Create a List of Your Debt

If you have any debt, make a note of it. Include mortgages, credit card debt, and auto loans, and you’ll have to note down account numbers and any other vital information to help your loved ones deal with your debt easily.

Are You a Member Anywhere?

The final list to create is one noting any associations you’re a part of. Associations can have accidental life insurance at no extra cost, so your loved ones will want to check them out.

Also, note down charities you support. Your loved ones will find this useful if they wish to donate money in your memory.

Sort Out Transfer on Death

If you would like to bequeath non-physical assets to certain people or organizations, you can set up a transfer on death (TOD) designation. A TOD allows accounts, like a savings account, to be automatically transferred to your loved one without going through the lengthy probate process.

Draft a Will

A will is a rulebook that details the distribution of all of your assets in case of your death. Contact a lawyer for wills to create your own and avoid trouble for those you love the most. Make sure you detail all of your last wishes, too, such as requests for your funeral or where to make donations in your memory.

Don’t Forget Your Estate Planning

Anyone over 18 should be thinking about estate planning, especially if you have any valuable items or sizeable savings. If you’re struggling, get in touch with a lawyer who can help you.

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