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New Year’s Resolution Checklist for Estate Planning


Do you have a new year’s resolution to handle estate planning, such as update your

will or set up a trust, but do not know where to start? Let us review a checklist of 5

actions you can take to achieve your goals:

1. Catalog your assets and debts. List valuable items you own. Examples may

include real property, such as your home or other land you own, and personal

property, such as jewelry, vehicles, art, laptops, equipment. It can include intangible

assets too, such as investment accounts and life insurance policies. Separately,

create a list of your debts, for example, mortgages, auto loans, home equity lines of

credit, and other obligations.

2. Select your trusted representative. Estate planning often requires several

representatives, such as a personal representative to follow your instructions about

your assets after you pass away. An estate attorney can offer you guidance in

selecting these representatives as they can play an important role in the probate

process and other circumstances.

3. Complete your documents. In addition to a last will and testament, a central part

of many estate plans, you may also want to create a trust or trusts. Work with your

estate planning attorney to develop the documents that work best for you and your


4. Share the documents. First, you can share your lists of assets and debts with

trusted loved ones, such as the person who you expect to be your personal

representative or your spouse. It helps to include account numbers, agreements,

and contact information for each item listed. Next, give copies of your completed

documents with your attorney and personal representative.

5. Review accounts and documents. Review retirement accounts, insurance policies,

and memberships. The listed beneficiaries take precedence over direction given in a

will or trust, so update beneficiary information regularly. You should also review the

documents you created at least once every two years and after major life events

such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child in the family.

For more assistance developing a strong estate plan, our office is here to help.

Please reach out to us today to schedule a time to meet.


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