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The Ultimate Checklist to Prepare for Your Estate Planning

— December 23, 2021

If you have a business, it’s important to include an estate planning clause that outlines what will happen if you become incapacitated.

It’s important to know what will happen in the event of your death or incapacitation. You need to make sure that you have a will, power of attorney for health care decisions, and beneficiaries. To help prepare for these inevitable events, here’s a checklist to ensure you’re ready for anything: 

Get an Estate Planning Team Together 

The very first step to creating your estate plan is getting an estate planning team together. It is recommended that you have an attorney like an Alabama estate planning lawyer, insurance agent, financial planner and tax professional on your team to make sure all bases are covered. They should have good access to the necessary information and documents and be trustworthy enough that you don’t mind sharing sensitive details with them.

Before you can create an estate plan with the team, you’ll need to figure out your goals. Are you looking for the most control over how things will be distributed after your death? Do you want someone else to make decisions on your behalf if necessary? Would you rather have a group of trusted individuals who know about your wishes be able to make decisions for you like an agent?

Prepare an Inventory List 

You need to prepare an inventory list that provides a detailed description of your assets such as cash and property. Additionally, you need to include physical items that you own like art or jewelry, bank accounts and other financial holdings, insurance policies, any debts you owe, including mortgages, student loans, credit card balance, and business interests. 

It is important to note that it can be helpful if all individuals who will be affected by your estate plan share this inventory list with their spouses or partners. This will help prevent any confusion in the future, and allow you to address any concerns that arise before they become too serious.

If there are accounts that need to be divided up, include those on your list as well. You should also write down where all of these items can be found. Bank statements will help with this.

Cover Your Debt 

It’s important to cover any debt you owe, whether for a mortgage, credit card, or car loan. This can be done by adding an estate planning clause that says your executor will pay off the balance of each account after all assets have been divided up among beneficiaries. If there isn’t enough money in the bank account to pay off all the debt, there are options to borrow against some of your assets or life insurance policies that can cover certain debts.

If you have a business, it’s important to include an estate planning clause that outlines what will happen if you become incapacitated. This is needed if anything happens during your lifetime as well. This clause should state your wishes for who will take over ownership of the business.

Create a Will

Image by Matthias Zomer from
Image by Matthias Zomer from

A will is a crucial part of any estate plan. It outlines who gets what after you die. Therefore, it’s important to include anything that may not have been mentioned previously, such as items or money left for favorite charities or people in need. 

It also states how your funeral arrangements will be handled. If you have minor children, this is also where you can include how they will be cared for until your designated guardians can take over.

Create a Power of Attorney 

A power of attorney gives someone else the authority to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. The person you choose should be highly trustworthy and will follow your wishes to the letter. 

You also need to test this person to ensure they are up for the responsibility. You can do this by asking them to make a decision that’s easy for you but difficult for someone else, such as signing a prenuptial agreement or handling an issue with your bank. 

Update or Amend Your Will 

An update to your estate plan may be necessary whenever there is a major life event, such as marriage or the birth of a child. You should also review and possibly amend your will if you move into a new home, change jobs, or experience other life changes. Just make sure you contact Huntsville, AL estate planning attorney before making these changes. 

By following these tips for creating an estate plan checklist, you will be well on your way to ensuring that all aspects of life and death are covered if something happens unexpectedly.

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