Estate Planning Checklist

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“When you die, your estate plan goes much deeper than how your assets will be disposed of. Your will should also instruct your family to handle your affairs if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated. If you cannot make your healthcare decisions, your will should outline your wishes for end-of-life care.”

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Estate Planning Checklist

To develop the estate planning outline you want that will meet the needs of relatives, Attorney Real Estate Group has created a checklist that outlines the steps you must complete. To create a successful estate planning checklist, gathering all the documents and data and then utilizing these documents are necessary. We’ll help you navigate the steps.


Estate Planning: What Is It?

Is Estate Planning Checklist really what it sounds like? The estate plan is a legal-ish way of laying out your wishes for what to happen to your money and stuff after you die. It includes details about how you want your children or pets to be cared for and medical wishes. Documents such as:

  • Wills
  • Instruction letter
  • Power of attorney for financial matters
  • Attorney-in-fact for medical care
  • Designating beneficiaries

Having an Estate Planning Checklist has many benefits, but if you don’t, you could end up with things you didn’t want—like the state taking your stuff when you’d prefer your deserving loved ones receive it! Therefore, having a plan is not optional if you care about controlling who gets what (which we know you do).

Creating an estate planning checklist California doesn’t mean you have to hire a lawyer to do it. Most people can do it online from their favorite armchair, one of the best things about estate planning.

You and your family can benefit from a sound estate plan in many ways. It demonstrates your love for your loved ones and willingness to look after them once you’re gone.


Get Benefits from a Sound Estate Plan in Many Ways.

Furthermore, it can be an excellent way to minimize estate taxes. It also gives you a legacy you can be proud of, and it also gives you peace of mind, knowing that what you’ve worked so hard to build will end up in the right hands.

  • List the assets you own
  • Take into account your needs
  • Make a will
  • Plan Your Estate According to Who You Want
  • Identify your beneficiaries and assign items to them
  • Send an instruction letter
  • Be communicative
  • Distribute copies of your documents.
  • Document Storage
  • Take inventory of your assets.

Start by listing your assets—everything you own—on your laptop or with a pen and paper. Then think about who you want to leave them to. If you’re married, it can be as easy as naming your spouse as the beneficiary.

The beneficiary is someone you’re giving something to. They benefit from the gift. It can be money, brokerage accounts, or a car or house. To organize everything, follow these steps:


Physical Assets


First, you should ask yourself if it has a title.

Physical assets are most likely to occur when the answer is yes. Here’s a list of typical ones:

  • Vehicles
  • Houses
  • The boat
  • RVs
  • The property

Besides physical assets, there are also sentimental items you may want to leave to your children. For example, your favorite fishing pole is the perfect gift for your son. Or that artful painting that’s been in the family for generations- will you leave it to your art-loving niece?


Assets in the financial sector

Assets include things such as:

  • Savings or checking accounts with money
  • Retirement accounts and mutual funds
  • Accounts for health savings (HSAs)
  • Organizations
  • Insurance policies for life
  • Assets in digital form

You should keep those family videos you have recorded with your smartphone for many reasons.

  • Documents in PDF
  • Video clips
  • The presentation
  • Files with audio
  • Pictures
  • The spreadsheet
  • The graphics
  • Files for design


Create a co-ownership structure for your assets.

There are cases where you can add somebody to the title of an asset, such as a car, so you make sure that it passes to the right person. The person should be listed as a “joint tenant” with the “right of survivorship.”

Despite this, there are two downsides to this:

1) If you ever want to sell your asset or if you ever want to use it to secure a loan, you will need the co-owner’s approval. The help is co-owned by them. 2)

If the asset is worth over a certain amount, it could be subject to federal gift taxes when transferred. Even so, depending on your circumstances, you should add co-owners to some of your assets.

After listing everything, you will be ready to move on to the next step. Creating your estate plan will be much easier.


Take into account your needs.

Take some time to look at yourself from a bird’s-eye view. Do you need an attorney who can help you untangle your possessions? Or should you use a will package (written by lawyers)?


Take into account your needs.


Make a will

Deciding that you should make a will is the right decision; it’s time to do so. First, explain how your choice fits in the estate planning process. Preparation and creation of your will is a part of estate planning, not a replacement for it. Let’s begin!


Which type of will do you need?

You need to determine which kind of will is best for your situation before you create one. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of wills:

  • Simple wills
  • Mirror wills
  • Joint wills
  • Living will
  • Holographic wills
  • Nuncupative wills
  • Deathbed wills
  • Testamentary trusts

Make sure you understand all your options before you decide. A simple will works for everyone. If you’re married, get your spouse a mirror will as well. In a mirror will, your spouse will be named as the testator (the person making the will), while your will looks almost exactly like yours.

In addition to saving your loved ones from legal headaches in the future, the mirror will give you and your spouse the to donate your longings to whomever you choose.


Make Your Will

Creating your will is much easier and cheaper than it used to be. Creating a state-specific, legally binding will online without paying expensive attorney fees is now 100% legit. Making a valid will in minutes is possible by simply filling out a few blanks on a digital form.

Be bold and create your will online with a lawyer if you are wary of it. Generally, legal online will forms are created by lawyers. That means they already include the legal requirements and language necessary for your will to be legally binding. Isn’t that awesome?

Upon completing the online will form, two witnesses must sign and date it. The notarization of your will isn’t legally necessary in most states, but we recommend it anyway to ensure it is as efficient and protected as possible after your passing.

That’s all!


Decide Who Should Be Part Of Your Estate Plan.

As you consider who you want to have as a part of your legacy after you’re gone, here are some things you should consider:


Groups of beneficiaries

A beneficiary is a person you give your stuff to upon your death. You can list multiple beneficiaries; they don’t have to be family. Your property could be all or some of your assets (money and other things you own). And also, your stuff doesn’t have to go to your relatives if you don’t pick beneficiaries. You don’t want this to happen!

Contingent beneficiaries are essential in case things happen to your primary beneficiaries. (Think of them as your backup plan for your backup plan.) You never know what’s going to happen!


The executor

Executors (aka personal representatives) ensure the wishes outlined in your will come true. They are the Fairy Godmothers of estate planning. Picking the right executor is vital to a successful estate plan.

If you’d like your estate managed by someone with the necessary time and experience, think about that person in your life. Your executor will also need to be organized, as they will be the ones who take care of your assets after you pass away.

If you have someone in mind, ask them for their approval before adding their name to your will once you’ve made your final decision.


Children’s Guardians

If absent, your guardian would care for your child and their property. And if you have minor children, consider who could look after them if you pass away. If you don’t designate an individual guardian in your will, the courts will make that decision on your behalf, and no one likes having an institution making such vital decisions.


Pet Guardians

In your will, name a person to take care of your pet after you die. Some people even refer to them as their fur babies. Pets can give people great joy; for many, they are their children.


Advisor of trust

You should name a trusted advisor to help your executor sort out the complexities of your will if your executor needs assistance. The executor can hire an accountant to help with the day-to-day financial responsibilities or even a family member or friend to assist. If you choose not to do this, it’s entirely up to you.


Attorney-in-fact for medical care

An individual who makes medical decisions for you is called a medical power of attorney. It may come into play in life-or-death situations. If you cannot speak for yourself, they could take on the responsibility of making a critical decision for you.

If you are in a coma, your medical POA should know precisely what you would like and would not want to do.


Power of Attorney for Finances

In the California estate planning checklist, it would help to give financial power of attorney to someone you trust enough to manage your finances when you cannot. As the title suggests, this should be someone you can trust to make financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot.

Whenever you cannot make financial decisions due to illness or disability — and that can happen to anyone — you can have peace of mind knowing that someone is taking care of your finances (such as paying your bills).


Assign beneficiaries to items.

In the previous step, you named the people who would receive gifts. Now it’s time to choose which ones will receive what.


Accounts for retirement

It is essential to review the beneficiaries you have named on your pension plans and retirement accounts first. You need to verify your spouse’s name is listed in your retirement account if you have already designated them (assuming they’re still living) as the recipient.

If your spouse has passed away, consider who you want to leave your retirement savings. Leave a set dollar amount (or a percentage) to your children. Another option might be to leave all your assets to a friend. Going them to charity could also be an option.

The courts will decide who inherits your retirement accounts unless you assign beneficiaries now. Otherwise, the courts will decide after you’re gone.


Policies for life insurance

In the event of your death, your life insurance beneficiaries will receive the death benefit you specified when you purchased the policy. After you buy your policy, you can select one or multiple beneficiaries.

What has changed since you bought the policy (marriage? new baby? divorce? move?)? Is the right person and address listed?


Other Asset Beneficiaries

Ensure any other assets (checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, etc.) that need liquidation after you die go to a beneficiary.


Make sure you write a letter of instructions.

Letter of instruction (letters of intent) make things easier on your family after you’re gone. You can include instructions you want your family to know that aren’t in your will.


Communicate effectively

The time you spend talking to your loved ones about your final wishes is essential to the legacy you’re leaving them with. Unless your family is made up entirely of mind readers, they need to know what you decided. And why.

You’ve already discussed the importance of your executors, guardians, and powers of attorney, but have you spoken to these people about their roles? Be sure to let them know what’s involved in each part and see if they’re comfortable with it.


Distribute copies of your documents.

After making problematic emotional decisions, now is the time to make copies of all your documents in the digital estate planning checklist pdf. Here are some reminders:

  • Wills and testaments
  • Instruction letter
  • Power of attorney for medical care
  • Power of attorney for financial matters

Your executor should receive a copy of each, as well as your spouse. Remember to include yourself as well!


Organize your documents

A legacy drawer provides a safe place to store estate planning documents. Make sure someone knows where your legacy drawer is! It contains all the information your family will need if anything should happen to you.


The Basic Difference Between a Will and a Trust.

The will and the trust are documents that can be used in estate planning to serve various objectives. It will contain instructions about what happens to your possessions following your pass away. 

You can name beneficiaries to be the beneficiaries of your estate and an executor to execute everything within your will. On the other hand, a trust is a more complicated document that allows for transferring your property to beneficiaries but is more specific regarding who receives the property and when. 

A will becomes effective when you die, whereas trusts can take effect once made. It is possible to specify the parameters that govern how assets are distributed over your lifetime, if you are incapacitated, or after you die.


Bottom Line

After considering these Estate Planning Checklist basics, you’ll be ready to organize your affairs. You can get legal help from Attorney Real Estate Group if you need answers to your most pressing questions and assistance preparing your paperwork.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Bio...

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