The Essential Checklist for Estate Planning: Ensuring Your Attorney Has All the Pieces

Giving your estate planning attorney “the full deck” means providing them with comprehensive and accurate information about all your assets, liabilities, family dynamics, and any specific wishes or instructions you have for your estate. This ensures that the attorney can create an estate plan that accurately reflects your intentions and is tailored to your unique circumstances. Here’s what you should consider including:

Assets: Detail all of your assets, including real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and personal property of value (like art, jewelry, or collectibles). Provide account numbers, titles, and the current value of each asset.

Liabilities: List all debts and liabilities, including mortgages, loans, credit card debts, and any other financial obligations.

Family Information: Provide detailed information about your family structure, including names, ages, and relationships of your spouse, children, grandchildren, or any other individuals you wish to include in your estate plan. Mention any special circumstances such as previous marriages, stepchildren, or family members with special needs.

Important Documents: Share existing legal documents that might affect your estate plan, such as prenuptial agreements, divorce decrees, existing wills or trusts, and any business agreements if you own a business.

Healthcare Wishes: Discuss your preferences for healthcare if you become unable to make decisions for yourself, including any specific medical treatments you do or do not want.

End-of-Life Wishes: Communicate your wishes regarding funeral arrangements, burial or cremation, and any specific instructions you have for your memorial.

Special Instructions: Include any specific instructions or wishes you have for certain assets, family heirlooms, or charitable donations.

Digital Assets: Don’t forget digital assets, such as social media accounts, digital currencies, and online accounts. Provide instructions for how these should be handled.

Ensuring your attorney has a complete understanding of your personal and financial landscape allows for a meticulous, legally robust estate plan tailored to your desires. This streamlined approach not only enhances efficiency but also minimizes the potential for disputes among your heirs. Ready to embark on your estate planning journey? Reach out to Eastham Law Office—either give us a call or fill out our contact form, and we’ll arrange a consultation.