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Estate Planning Checklist

10 Steps for Creating an Effective Estate Plan: Here is a convenient checklist to help you plan for the future.

 Create a Will

Your will allows you to state who will inherit your property and if you have young children, your will allows you to name a guardian to care for them should something happen to both you and the other parent.

Consider a Living Trust

Holding your property in a living trust lets your survivors avoid probate court which is an expensive and time-consuming process.

Make a Living Will

Documenting your wishes for health care provisions will help protect you if you become incapacitated or unable to make medical decisions on your own.  Your living will informs your family and health care providers about your wishes for medical treatment.

Make a Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney allows you to give someone you trust the authority to handle your property and finances if you become unable to handle your own affairs.  A POA only becomes effective when you instruct your agent to act or when you become unable to make appropriate decisions.

Protect Your Children’s Inheritance

Name an adult to manage any property or assets you would like your children under the age of 18 to inherit from you.  This person can be the same individual you name as their personal guardian in your will.

File your Beneficiary Forms

It is very important to name beneficiaries for your bank accounts and retirement plans.  Ensure you review these documents regularly to ensure they are up to date and in accordance with your wishes.

Consider Purchasing Life Insurance

If you own a house, have young children or owe substantial debts or estate taxes, it may be a good idea to incorporate Life Insurance into your estate planning.

Have an Understanding of Estate Taxes

You will want to ensure that your comprehensive estate plan guards your assets from undue taxation and probate issues.  Talk to an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about how your circumstances are affected by estate taxes.

Make Your Funeral Wishes Known

Be clear about what type of funeral arrangements you want and what should happen to your remains upon your death.

Store Your Documents Properly

Ensure that your estate planning attorney has access to the following documents:

  • Will
  • Trusts
  • Real Estate Deeds
  • Insurance Policies
  • Certificates for Stocks and Bonds
  • Bank Account Information
  • Retirement Plan, IRA and 401 (k) Information
  • Mortgage Documents
  • Funeral Plans

While this list serves as a starting off point, be sure to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that all the details of your estate plan are in order.

Our trusted Pittsburgh estate planning attorneys at Fingeret Law want to help you plan for the future. To discuss your specific needs with us, please call us at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.

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