Category: Estate Planning

Estate Planning Checklist

Posted on: July 12th, 2011
Here’s a test every adult should take – it’s not hard, but the consequences of failing can be serious:

1. I have a current Health Care Power of Attorney 
to permit my spouse, children and/or family to 
make emergency health care decisions for me 
in the event I am unable to do so.                                           Yes    No    Don’t Know

2. I have a current Durable Power of Attorney to 
permit my spouse or children to handle my
financial affairs in the event I become disabled.                 Yes    No    Don’t Know

3. My Revocable Trust and Powers of Attorney
specify an understandable test to determine 
my disability.                                                                               Yes    No    Don’t Know


4. If I have a Revocable Living Trust in place 
as part of my estate plan, it gives instructions 
for my care and the care of my loved ones if I 
become mentally disabled.                                                     Yes    No    Don’t Know

5. I am certain that my current estate plan will
minimize possible federal and state estate taxes at 
my death, including taxes on my house, life
insurance and IRAs.                                                                 Yes    No    Don’t Know


6. If I have a Revocable Living Trust in place 
as part of my estate plan, I’m sure that my trust 
is fully funded so that my family can avoid the 
delays and expenses of probate.                                          Yes    No    Don’t Know


7. I have taken steps to avoid possible will 
contests and disputes at my death.                                     Yes    No    Don’t Know


8. I have taken steps to protect my children’s 
inheritance in the event my surviving spouse
chooses to remarry.                                                                Yes    No    Don’t Know


9. I have recently checked the beneficiary
designations of my retirement plans and life 
insurance policies, and I am confident that I have
not listed my estate or any minor children as
either primary or secondary beneficiaries.                         Yes    No    Don’t Know


10. I have a plan to provide creditor and lawsuit 
protection for assets passed to my surviving spouse.    Yes    No    Don’t Know


11. My current plan provides creditor and 
lawsuit protection for my children’s inheritance.               Yes    No    Don’t Know


12. My current plan addresses income tax
planning.                                                                                   Yes    No    Don’t Know


13. I have a plan to protect my childrens’
inheritance from a divorcing spouse.                                  Yes    No    Don’t Know


14. I am satisfied with the persons I named as
guardians of my minor children in my current plan.         Yes     No    Don’t Know


15. I am satisfied with the persons I named as
executor or trustee in my current plan.                                Yes     No    Don’t Know


16. I am satisfied that my current plan sets up a 
contingent trust for my minor children.                                Yes    No     Don’t Know


17. I am aware of all future estate planning
fees and expenses, including an understanding
of those involved at the time of my death.                           Yes    No     Don’t Know


18. My children have met with my attorney
and fully understand their roles and 
responsibilities upon my incapacity or death.                    Yes    No    Don’t Know


If you answered "no" or "don’t know" to even one of these questions, you are probably due for an estate planning checkup.  Make sure you use a qualified attorney to assist you.

Thanks to Ohio attorney Ted Gudorf for this checklist.

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