Give your family the gift of basic estate planning

Did you know that nearly two thirds of Americans haven't even done basic estate planning? 

There is often a mountain of paperwork that needs to be dealt with when a loved one passes away.  Did you know that you have to file taxes for someone after they die?  Or pay their bills on time to avoid penalties?

You can remove a lot of the burden on your family by taking these simple steps:

  • Update the contact and beneficiary information on all of your important accounts (retirement, investment, insurances), then set a calendar reminder to check it yearly for accuracy.
  • Take inventory of all your assets and expenses and keep them in a safe place with your important documents.
  • Complete an Advance Health Care Directive with your desired medical and end-of-life instructions.
  • Select someone to serve as executor or trustee to oversee your estate.
  • Review your assets and medical wishes with your executor or trustee and then store the information somewhere secure.

Call The Family Formation Law Center for a complimentary review of your current estate plan and a discussion of your needs 310-598-6428.

Estate Planning Checklist for Every Family

Estate Planning Checklist

Care for your family by making a will, setting up a trust, creating a power of attorney, a health care directive, funeral arrangements and more.

  • Make a will.  In a will, you state who you want to inherit your property, and name a guardian to care for your young children should something happen to you.
  • Consider a trust.  If you hold your property in trust, your survivors won't have to go through probate court, a time-consuming and expensive process.
  • Make an advance health care directive.  Also called a "living will" this document lets your physician, family and friends know your health care preferences, including the types of special treatment you want or don't want at the end of your life, your desire for diagnostic testing, surgical procedures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and organ donation.  By considering your options early, you can ensure the quality of life that is important to you and avoid having your family guess your wishes or having to make critical medical care decisions for you under stress or turmoil. 
  • Make a financial power of attorney.  With a durable power of attorney for finances, you can give a trusted person authority to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs.  The person you name to handle your finances is called your agent or attorney-in-fact (but it doesn't have to be an attorney).
  • Protect your children's property.  You should name an adult to manage any money and property your childdren may inherit from you.  This can be the same person as the personal guardian you name in your will. 
  • File beneficiary forms.  Naming a beneficiary for bank accounts and retirement plans makes the account automatically "payable on death" to your beneficiary and allows the funds to skip the probate process. 
  • Consider life insurance.  If you have young children or own a house, or you may owe significant debts or estate taxes when you die, life insurance is a good idea.

The Family Formation Law Center assists families of every age and size in creating an estate plan that protects their property and cares for their loved ones.  Please call 310.598.6428 for a consultation or email