Thinking Past the Will and Trust: 12 Important Estate Planning Tasks

Most people who are thinking of creating an estate plan in Orange County assume that this process involves the drafting of certain documents, such as wills and living trusts. While this is certainly true, the overall estate planning process should also include many other tasks. Planning for the easy administration of your estate after your passing will help to ensure that your loved ones are not faced with substantial legal or financial obstacles in the event of your unexpected passing.

Examples of tasks that should be accomplished as part of the estate planning process in Orange County include the following:

  1. Consider preparing a letter with instructions for your loved ones. This letter might direct your loved ones to where your estate planning documents or other papers are kept, which accounts you held, and other information about your financial or personal activities.
  2. Consider planning for your own funeral. Planning your own funeral allows you some level of control over what will happen at the service or burial. It also takes some of the burden off your loved ones during a time of substantial grief.
  3. Purchase life insurance if it makes sense as part of your overall Orange County estate plan. If you already have life insurance, consider increasing or decreasing the policy amount, or review other insurance products available to see what works best for you.
  4. Consider purchasing other forms of insurance, such as long-term care insurance, major medical insurance, or disability insurance.
  5. Review your non-probate assets to ensure that your beneficiary designations are up to date.
  6. Create a list of your financial accounts, with account numbers and the names of the institutions.
  7. List your personal data, such as birth date, social security number, driver’s license number, and names and phone numbers of family members.
  8. Ensure that someone can access your safety deposit box in the event of your death.
  9. Make a list of all of your loan payments and other debts.
  10. Create a list of all of the organizations of which you are a member.
  11. Provide information pertaining to the health and care of any pets.
  12. Provide a trusted advisor with account passwords, alarm codes, and keys.

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James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm