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Washington estate planning checklist


Most Kent area residents know the importance of estate plans. But, there is more to an estate plan than a will. There are many different things an estate plan should include, like wills, trusts and health care directives.

It is a good idea for everyone to go through their estate plan and make sure they are thorough and complete. A financial advisor can help a family with their estate plan. An estate plan should include a will, which provides the information as to how your estate should be distributed upon your death. It also designates a guardian for any children you may have.

An estate plan should also include a power of attorney. This person will handle business affairs and health-care issues, if you are not able. You can give this person as much access to your affairs as you would like, and they should be chosen carefully.

An estate plan should also include health care directives that give instruction as to what should be done, if you are not able to make your own medical decisions. A trust should also be set up to minimize estate taxes upon your death and to bypass probate.

Additional estate plan items include a list of all your assets, such as bank accounts, property, investments, etc. It can also be helpful to make a list of assets, how you want them distributed upon your death and where the assets can be found. In addition to financial and health information, often people like to write letters to their family letting them know the values they believe are important and how they want their legacy to live on.

Source: MarketWatch.com, "Review your estate plan against this 14-point checklist," Art Koff, July 20, 2015

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