Palm Springs Law Blog

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

2024 Estate Planning Checklist

Thinking about your death isn’t pleasant, but estate planning is the best way to ensure your loved ones get the inheritance you want them to receive. Whether you have a complicated estate with a high net worth and several holdings or are working to pay down your debt, estate planning benefits you and your family. 

Understanding Estate Planning

Estate planning is the official process of deciding what happens to your money and possessions when you die. It may also include your preferences for medical care and who you want to take care of your children or pets when the time comes. 

Some of the documents that are common to an estate plan include:

  • Letter of instruction

  • A will

  • Beneficiary designation

  • Medical power of attorney

  • Financial power of attorney

An estate plan can be simple, depending on your wishes. However, failing to make any plan at all could mean your assets go to the state instead of to the people you love. 

You’ve worked hard to create a legacy. Now it’s time to work on an estate plan that will protect your loved ones and minimize estate taxes. 

Basic Estate Planning Checklist

You can accomplish many of the steps of estate planning without the help of an attorney or accountant. One of the most important steps is to let your intended heirs know your plans. If there is information they need to ensure your wishes are carried out, make sure they receive that information as soon as your documents are in order. 

Document Your Personal Inventory

Make a list of all the valuable items inside and outside your home. Include belongings like electronics, jewelry, and collectibles. Make notes if you want specific items to go to a particular person. 

Document Your Financial Assets and Your Debts

Make another list of your non-physical assets. Include bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and any other financial assets in your possession. Also, include a hard copy of account numbers and contact information that will be needed to access those accounts. 

Make a separate list of your mortgages, auto loans, open credit cards, and other debts. Include account numbers and any contact information that heirs might need. 

Write a Will

Contrary to what many people think, a will is not separate from estate planning, nor does a will replace it. A will is part of your estate plan. An attorney can help you decide which type of will works best for your situation and make sure all legal requirements are met. 

Select the People Who Will Be Included in Your Estate Plan

Heirs may not be the only people involved in your estate plan. Other roles and people to consider include:

  • Executor, the representative who makes sure your wishes are met

  • Beneficiaries, the people and organizations that receive your assets

  • Trusted advisor, an “assistant” to the executor

  • Guardians for dependent children

  • Guardians for pets

Estate planning includes planning for the possibility you could become unable to care for your own interests before you die. Naming a financial power of attorney and a medical power of attorney is in your best interests. 

Assign Belongings to Your Beneficiaries

Who will receive the payout from your life insurance policy, and who will inherit the antique silver? You may leave equal amounts of money to all your children or leave all of your assets to a charity. It’s up to you. 

Write a Letter of Instruction

The letter of instruction includes more personal issues, such as what clothes you want to be buried in or who should write your obituary. 

You’re (Almost) Finished

With a few more small chores, your estate planning is almost complete. To ensure your plan includes everything and that all documents have been correctly filed, consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Call Heritage Legal, PC in Palm Springs, CA, to learn more.

Archived Posts


Riverside CA Estate Planning Bankruptcy

© 2024 Heritage Legal, PC | Disclaimer
777 Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite 328, Palm Springs, CA 92262
| Phone: 760-325-2020

Estate Planning | Living Trusts | Probate / Estate Administration | Living Wills | Trusts for Minors | Estate Tax Planning | Estate Planning for Homeowners | Durable Power of Attorney | Intestate Succession Laws | Spendthrift Trusts | Naming a Guardian for Your Child | Family Law | Estate Planning for Blended Families | Challenges with Assigning Beneficiaries | Trusts and IRA Stretch Accounts (to Minimize Tax Liability) | | LGBTQ | Testimonials | Upload | Locations | Articles


©  Heritage Legal, P.C.| Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Terms of Service | Attorney Website Design by Omnizant

©  Heritage Legal, P.C.| Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Terms of Service | Attorney Website Design by Omnizant