Episode 17: What Should Be On My Estate Planning Checklist?

Published: September 17, 2020 | Updated on: October 21, 2020

Thank you for joining us for Episode 17 of our Money Wisdom Question Series, where we film answers to common financial and retirement investment questions. Today’s question is “What should be on my estate planning checklist?”

Where Do You Want Your Possessions to Go?

There are several things you can have but let’s just talk about the basic things. The simplest is, where do I want my possessions to go when I die? Part of estate planning, whether it’s a will, trust, or however you’re going to build this is deciding where you want your things to go. As an owner of your possessions, you have the right to decide exactly where you want them to go. In the Northeast, there are very few restrictions on who you can leave money to or who you have to leave money to.

Who Do You Want to Make Decisions Regarding Your Health?

Another thing on your estate planning checklist should be health care issues. Who do you want to make decisions about your health and treatment of certain illnesses or conditions if you can’t make those decisions? Many people have what’s called a healthcare proxy or a healthcare power of attorney. That would be someone to make decisions on your behalf. For example, for myself, it’s my wife Wendy. If I can’t speak or make decisions for myself when it comes to my health, she has the power and legal authority to do that.

Do You Want Control Over Your Assets?

Next, do you want control over your assets after you die? For example, I can pass away and in this situation, I do have a trust. That trust dictates how my assets get paid out and for my personal situation, I don’t want everything paid out to my kids in a lump sum. It’s another thing for you to think about. You don’t have to do it the way I did it, but the question is do you want control over your assets when you die.

Your Assets

The last item I’ll talk about is your assets. Do you want your assets protected while living or at death? That could mean insurance, legal protection from nursing home care, or lawsuits. It could be protecting your assets in case your kids get sued.

Takeaways

There are many things on an estate planning checklist that you should have. Start with where do you want your assets to go when you pass away and how much control do you want over those assets. Make sure you at least have a will. Most people should probably have a trust and some type of healthcare power of attorney. Any good attorney that specializes in estate planning will be able to do those things for you, typically in a package.

Thanks for joining me and I hope you found this information helpful!

P.S. If you enjoyed this topic and want to learn more, get our free guide, “Estate Planning Checklist“.

P.P.S. Feel free to submit questions here for a chance to have them answered!