Estate Planning Conference Preparation Checklist

This page is designed to help our clients to gather appropriate information in order to prepare for an estate planning conference with one of the attorneys in the firm.

QUICK LINKS FOR THIS PAGE:

Categories of Assets
Estate Planning Information Worksheet

Things to Consider and Do

  1. We have created a short form for obtaining some basic information. The form appears on a separate page. Please use the link above entitled "Estate Planning Information Worksheet" to take you to the form, download and print the form and complete it as thoroughly as possible.
  2. Prepare and bring with you an informal personal financial statement, showing your assets and liabilities (by category) with a rough estimate of their value. As to each, indicate whether they are owned by you alone or jointly with someone else (even if a spouse). A list of categories appears below. A sample personal financial statement can be found at this link.
  3. Obtain and bring with you all available life insurance policies.
  4. If possible, obtain the exact names and addresses of any individuals or institutions that you may wish to be named in your will, particularly if they are not in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
  5. If you have specific items that you wish to leave to specific individuals, please prepare a list.
  6. If you have children under 18, consider whom you would like to appoint as their guardians if they are orphaned. Also, try to select alternate guardians.
  7. Consider which individuals or institutions you would like to serve as the executor and alternate executors of your estate. The executor has the duty to gather all your assets, discharge all your liabilities, comply with tax laws, carry out the provisions of your will and so on.
  8. If you have children or other beneficiaries who are minors or young adults, we recommend that any significant inheritances to which they become entitled be placed in a trust until they reach a more mature age. Please consider at what age you would want them to receive some or all of their inheritance outright (without further control by the trustee). It does not have to be all at once - it can be in installments at different ages or after particular periods of time. For example - at ages 25, 30 and 35 or after five years and after ten years.
  9. Consider which individuals or institutions you would like to have serve as the trustee of any amounts which may be placed in trust under the provisions of your will. The trustee can be the same person or institution as the executor. The trustee has the duty to invest the assets held in the trust, make decisions on distribution of funds in the trust (if the trustee is given discretion to make those decisions) and see that the terms of the trust are carried out.
  10. Consider how you want your estate distributed in the disastrous event that your entire immediate family is lost.
  11. Consider whether you might be interested in powers of attorney or "living wills." If you are not familiar with these documents, we can discuss them at the meeting. A power of attorney gives another person the ability to act on your behalf, either generally or in some limited way, if you cannot act for yourself. A living will expresses your desires with respect to the termination or continuation of certain life-sustaining procedures, if you are in a terminal state and are incapable of making these decisions for yourself. Powers of attorney and living wills are discussed in more detail at other pages of this web site.

Categories of Assets

  1. Real estate - residence, vacation home, time-share, investment, other
  2. Bank accounts and certificates of deposit
  3. Securities - stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money market mutual funds, tax-free municipal bonds, U.S. savings bonds, other government securities, brokerage accounts, options, etc.
  4. Retirement plans - IRAs, SEPs, 401ks, Keogh plans, pension plans, profit sharing plans, 403b plans/tax sheltered annuities, non-qualified retirement plans, deferred compensation plans, etc.
  5. Tangible personal property -
    1. Automobiles, boats, etc.
    2. Furniture and furnishings
    3. Other - jewelry, furs, art work, antiques, collections, precious metals, etc.
  6. Jointly owned property - owned jointly with your spouse or with another person or persons
  7. Life insurance, accidental death insurance, etc.
  8. Annuity contracts and arrangements
  9. Receivables or other debts that you expect to receive or that you are legally entitled to collect
  10. Business interests as a sole proprietor, partner in a general partnership, general or limited partner in a limited partnership, joint venturer, shareholder in a closely held corporation, member of a limited liability company, etc.
  11. "In trust for ..." accounts in your name
  12. Custodial accounts (for example, bank or brokerage accounts for your children) where you are the custodian and you donated property to the account
  13. Trusts that you established and trusts established by others where you have a general power of appointment
  14. Tax shelters such as real estate limited partnerships
  15. Expected inheritances and interests in estates or trusts of others
  16. Gifts and transfers -
    1. Gifts you have made within the last year
    2. Gifts of more than $14,000 in any calendar year after 2012 to one person
    3. Gifts of more than $13,000 in any calendar year between 2009 and 2012 to one person
    4. Gifts of more than $12,000 in any calendar year between 2006 and 2008 to one person
    5. Gifts of more than $11,000 in any calendar year between 2002 and 2005 to one person
    6. Gifts of more than $10,000 in any calendar year between 1982 and 2001 to one person
    7. Gifts of more than $3,000 in any calendar year before 1982 to one person
    8. Gifts or transfers where you retained some continuing rights
    9. Transfers of life insurance policies within the last three years

 

Copyright 2013-2017   Marc H. Jaffe