Estate Management Checklist
Do you have a Will?
A will enables you to specify who you want to inherit your property and other assets. A will also enables you to name a guardian for your minor children.
Do you have Healthcare Documents in place?
Healthcare documents spell out your wishes for healthcare if you cannot make decisions for yourself. They also authorize a person to make decisions on your behalf if necessary. These documents may include a living will, a power of attorney, and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.
Do you have Financial Documents in place?
Certain financial documents can outline your financial wishes. If you cannot make decisions for yourself, these financial documents empower a person to decide on your behalf. These documents may include joint ownership, durable power of attorney, and living trusts.
Have you filed Beneficiary Forms?
In some cases, naming a beneficiary for bank accounts and retirement plans makes these accounts “payable on death” to beneficiaries. In other cases, you need to fill out a “Payable on Death” form.
Do you have the right amount & type of Life Insurance?
When was the last time you assessed your life insurance coverage? Have you compared the life insurance benefit with your financial obligations?
Have you taken steps to manage Federal Estate Tax?
If you and your spouse own more than $11.2 million in assets in 2018, consider taking steps to manage federal estate taxes due at the second spouse’s death.
Although estate taxes could claim a sizable portion of your legacy, they make up less than 1% of total federal revenue.
Source: Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, 2018
Have you taken steps to protect your business?
Do you have a succession plan? If you own a business with others, you may also want to consider a buyout agreement.
Have you created a Letter of Instruction?
A letter of instruction is a non-legal document that outlines your wishes. A strong, well-written letter may save your heirs time, effort, and expense as they administer your estate.
Will heirs be able to locate Critical Documents?
Your heirs need access to specific documents you created to manage your estate.
These documents may include:
- Your will
- Trust documents
- Life insurance policies
- Deeds to any real estate
- Certificates for stocks, bonds, or annuities
- Information on your bank accounts, mutual funds, and safe deposit boxes
- Information on your retirement plans, 401(k) accounts, or IRAs
- Any debts you have, including credit cards, mortgages, loans, utilities, and unpaid taxes
Power of attorney laws vary from state to state. An estate strategy that includes trusts may involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations. Consider working with a knowledgeable estate management professional before implementing such strategies.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties.
Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest.
FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state, or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and materials provided are for general information. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2018 FMG Suite.