What is Included in an Estate Planning Checklist?
Estate planning is an important task that can bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones. Everyone should take the time to have these important documents in place, but for the elderly, it is especially important to have the proper medical documents and power of attorney taken care of so that your wishes can be executed by someone you trust should you become incapacitated. Without a will, your estate will be distributed according the laws of the state where you reside.
Checklist for Estate Planning
The first step in estate planning is to assess your assets. Gather statements from all your bank accounts, including checking, savings, brokerage, and retirement accounts. List the value of your home, other real estate holdings, and valuables such as cars, artwork, jewelry, and antiques; be sure to include the contents of safety deposit boxes and safes along with their locations. If you have insurance policies, list their cash value and death benefits. List any liabilities you may have, such as a mortgage, line of credit, and any debts you owe.
Once you have a good picture of your total estate, it is time to think about how you wish to distribute it and if there are any charities you want to include. Anyone with minor children must designate a guardian for them. If you have pets, you can give instructions for their care in your absence. If you have specific burial wishes, provide detailed instructions.
The following documents are an essential part of any estate plan:
- Power of Attorney: Appoint someone you trust to manage financial and legal decisions for you in case you are unable to do so
- Health care power of attorney: Appoint someone who will help make decisions about your medical needs and if necessary, end of life care
- Living will: This document tells doctors and health care providers what medical procedures you want to receive when you are physically unable to communicate or make your own health care decisions
Estate Planning Goals
Once your checklist is complete, it is helpful to think about what you want to accomplish with your estate plan. The following are some elements common to many estate plans:
- Ensuring that minor children will be taken care of by an appointed guardian
- Providing for a disabled family member
- Protecting a family business so that it stays within the family
- Protecting wealth and reducing estate taxes
- Keeping the transfer of assets outside the probate process
- Having a plan for charitable giving
Working with a qualified elder law attorney can help you refine your goals and give you the peace of mind that your estate plan reflects your wishes and the needs of your family.
Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Provide Experienced Counsel for All Your Estate Planning Needs
Contact a knowledgeable Brooklyn elder law attorney at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP for answers to all your questions about estate planning. Each of our clients receives personalized and compassionate care. Call us at 212-495-8133 today to schedule an initial consultation or contact us online. From our offices in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we provide estate planning services to clients throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York.