Checklist: Six Steps Toward Successful Estate Planning
- Define your goals: What do you want to happen to your assets in the event of your death or disability? If your beneficiaries predecease you, who are your alternate selections? How will your assets be distributed and when will these distributions take place?
- Gather and organize your data: This can be done by reviewing and updating your financial position, reviewing how you hold title to your assets and whether these are consistent with your estate planning. Did you know that how you hold title to your assets has a higher legal priority than your will?
- Analyze your situation: Begin by determining your current net worth, assuming your death occurred today.
- Develop your strategies: With the assistance of your estate planning attorney, identify legal documents that need drafting and make the necessary adjustments to existing documents.
- Implement your plan: Do what needs to be done – creating new wills, trusts, powers of attorney, adjusting title to your properties, etc.
- Track and monitor your progress: Check your estate planning annually and consult your attorney with any changes you may wish to make. Make sure all beneficiaries and alternates remain desirable to you and that all documents are current.
Credits: The Financial Awareness Foundation. Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.