Estate Planning Checklist

Things You Can Do to Get Your Estate in Order

Estate planning is a crucial process that involves making arrangements for the distribution of your assets and the management of your affairs after you pass away. One of the greatest gifts you can leave your survivors is an organized estate. The time you spend now will help your loved ones to cope later, and also will ensure your wishes will be carried out. Here is a simplified checklist to help you get started on organizing your estate, and depending on your individual situation, you might discover other items to be addressed. It’s a good idea to discuss your plans with your loved ones and the executor of your will. You’ll also want to consult with your legal, financial and tax advisors to make sure your plan meets your specific needs.


  1. Identify Your Goals and Objectives:
    • Determine what you want to achieve with your estate plan.
    • Consider who you want to inherit your assets and how you want them to be distributed.
  2. Create a Will:
    • Designate an executor (and an alternate) to manage your estate.
    • Specify beneficiaries for your assets.
    • Outline how you want your assets distributed.
    • Consider alternate beneficiaries in case your primary choices are unavailable.
  3. Establish a Healthcare Proxy and a Living Will/Advance Healthcare Directive:
    • Authorize someone you trust to serve as your Healthcare Proxy to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to.  
    • Designate an alternate in case your primary choice is unable or unwilling to serve.
    • Specify your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care to help aid your healthcare proxy in making decisions
  4. Create a Power of Attorney:
    • Appoint someone you trust to manage your financial and legal affairs if you become incapacitated.
    • Your Power of Attorney agent can only act for you while you are alive.
  5. Consider a Revocable Living Trust or an Irrevocable Asset Protection Trust:
    • Transfer assets into the trust to avoid probate.
    • Name a successor trustee to manage trust assets if you’re unable to.
    • Consult an estate planning attorney to discuss which type of trust best meets your needs and goals.
  6. Name Guardians for Minor Children:
    • Specify who will care for your children if you and your spouse pass away.
  7. Review and Update Beneficiary Designations:
    • Ensure that beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other accounts are up to date.
  8. Inventory Your Assets:
    • Make a list of your assets, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, and personal property.
  9. Consider Tax Implications:
    • Understand the potential estate tax implications of your plan.
    • Explore tax-saving strategies.
  10. Plan for Business Succession (if applicable):
    • Determine who will take over your business if you own one.
    • Consider how the business will be valued and funded for the transition.
  11. Review and Update Regularly:
    • Estate planning is not a one-time task. Review and update your plan as your circumstances change.
  12. Organize Important Documents:
    • Keep important documents such as wills, trusts, deeds, insurance policies, and financial records in a secure and accessible place.
  13. Communicate Your Wishes:
    • Create a Letter of Instruction to inform your loved ones about your estate plan,  where to find important documents, people and organizations to contact, location of spare keys, security codes and passwords.
    • Include instructions for the management and disposition of your digital assets, including online accounts, social media, and cryptocurrencies.
  14. Consult with Professionals:
    • Work with an attorney specializing in estate planning.
    • Consider consulting with a financial advisor or accountant for tax and financial planning.
  15. Consider Charitable Giving (if desired):
    • If you wish to leave assets to charities or foundations, include them in your plan.
  16. Funeral and Burial Instructions:
    • Provide guidance on your funeral and burial preferences.
    • Consider contacting a local funeral home to do funeral pre-planning.
    • List all organizations in which you have membership as they may provide special death benefits.


Remember that estate planning can vary depending on your individual circumstances, assets, and goals. It’s essential to seek professional advice to create a comprehensive and legally sound estate plan that meets your specific needs.


Estate Planning, Long Term Care Planning/Medicaid, Medicaid Crisis Planning, and Probate, Trust, and Estate Administration Attorneys Serving Long Island, NYC and the Surrounding Area

Hoskins Life & Legacy Planning - Long Island / NYC
Hoskins Life & Legacy Planning - Long Island / NYC
Hoskins Life & Legacy Planning - Long Island / NYC
Hoskins Life & Legacy Planning - Long Island / NYC