Estate Planning Check-list — 13 Items to Get in Order
Sometimes we forget that we don’t live forever. As disheartening as this thought is, we still need to prepare for our death. One way to do this is to get our estate plans prepared. If you’re working on yours, you need to make a checklist of all of your assets, including your bank accounts, investments, and Self Managed Super Fund.
To make things easier for you, here is a list of thirteen items to get in order:
1. Make an inventory of physical items
In addition to the property itself, include all of your jewellery, television sets, vehicles, computers, mobile phone, iPads and artwork. Include anything that is worth over $100.
2. Make a list of all of your non-physical assets
Non-physical items include assets to which you are entitled, such as savings accounts, shares, annuities, and so forth.
3. Make a list of all of the organisations and charities in which you have an involvement
It’s important to list charitable organisations just in case your beneficiaries want to donate some of your money to a cause close to your heart.
4. Write down all of your debts and credit cards
This list should contain information about all of your mortgage loans, car loans, and credit cards. Include all credit cards – even the ones without balances. Cancel any cards that you don’t plan on ever using again.
5. Review all of your retirement accounts, including your SMSF
Do they all have a beneficiary listed? The superannuation beneficiary listing takes precedence over your will.
6. Update your life insurance
Once again, you must review your policies to make sure the right beneficiaries are listed.
7. Make sure all of your documents are up-to-date
Review all of your important documents every two years and after any major events, such as divorce or the birth of a child. Since life is always changing, your inventory and documents will change a lot as well.
8. Prepare a will
Every adult should have a will. Even if you’re in good health, you could still be involved in an accident.
9. Choose a good estate administrator
This individual should be responsible and trustworthy. The administrator will have to make decisions about your estate.
10. Send all of the asset lists to your administrator
When the lists are complete, you should sign and date them. Scan a copy of each of them on your computer. Print out three copies. Keep one copy for yourself, put another copy in a secure deposit box at the bank, and send the last one to your administrator.
11. Make directives concerning your health care
In the event that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, your health care declaration, or living will, will come into play. If you’d rather not be kept on life support, put it in writing ahead of time.
12. Manage all of the properties you plan on leaving behind for your children
Take good care of it. You don’t want to leave them in a mess. If your children are underage, choose a trustworthy person as their guardian until they’re old enough to inherit the estate.
13. Store all of the documents and lists in a safe place, like a safety deposit box at the bank
Other than yourself, your lawyer and executor should be the only ones allowed to access the documents.