Checklists are a part of life. The average Colorado family has a checklist for the grocery store, the daily chores and even packing when preparing for vacation. Checklists should also be a part of preparing for one's future. As such, an estate planning checklist can help ensure that all important details have been taken care of.
One of the first items on the checklist should be the will. This document allows the individual to direct who will receive which assets and who will act as executor for the estate. In addition to the will, the individual may want to have a living trust in place. Once assets are transferred to the living trust, the trust becomes the owner and beneficiaries can be named within the trust. This will allow assets to transfer without the need to go through probate.
The next item on the checklist is a durable power of attorney. This document allows another individual to act on the individual's behalf if he or she is unable to do so. This will allow bills to be paid and finances to be handled upon the death or disability of the individual.
The advance health care directive is another item that may need to be included on the estate planning checklist. This directive allows the individual to make medical decisions up front. For example, if the individual becomes ill or injured and does not want certain measures to be taken if the chance for recovery is minimal, the advance health care directive provides this information to the attending physicians and loved ones.
Estate planning is often a necessity that does not reach the top of the Colorado family's checklist of things to do. However, it is a critical aspect of taking care of loved ones. Experienced legal counsel can review the individual's assets and circumstances and help the individual draft the appropriate documents.
Source: investors.com, "Estate Planning Checklist: Easy Stress-Free Steps For Getting Organized", Michele Chandler, March 30, 2018