Understanding Key Components of an Estate Planning Checklist

September 13, 2023

An estate plan stands as the most efficient means to safeguard your assets and ensure their seamless transfer to your chosen beneficiaries, whether they are your loved ones or others. After you have finished crafting your initial estate plan, it is strongly recommended that you periodically revisit your estate planning documents, at a minimum of every five years, and especially after undergoing significant personal or financial life events. These events might include marriage or divorce, the birth of children or grandchildren, the acquisition or sale of substantial assets, or receiving a significant windfall. The following checklist provides guidance for both the initial and review stages of estate planning.

What Belongs on Your Estate Planning Checklist?

Key considerations for a comprehensive estate planning checklist encompass the following:

  • Ensure completion of all pertinent estate planning documents aligned with your objectives. This typically entails drafting a last will and testament, possibly incorporating trust documents, durable power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney/living will.
  • Allocate specific personal property items of significant financial or sentimental worth, such as family photos, artwork, jewelry, or antiques, to designated recipients. A clear schedule within your will can prevent family disputes over these items.
  • Establish bequests for minors under 18, placing these assets under the care of their parent, guardian, or a trustee until they attain legal adulthood.
  • Decide on specific cash or asset gifts to be bestowed upon particular individuals, and address contingencies if these assets are no longer available at the time of your passing.
  • Assess your estate’s value to gauge potential state or federal estate tax obligations, allowing for strategic estate planning aimed at minimizing the taxable estate upon your demise.

Choosing a Personal Representative

A pivotal aspect of estate planning involves the selection of the individual who will assume the role of personal representative, also known as an executor or administrator for your estate, or the trustee for any established trusts. Many individuals opt for family members as personal representatives or trustees, primarily due to their presumed avoidance of professional fees for estate or trust administration and their presumed familiarity with your estate planning preferences. Nevertheless, designating a family member can present certain challenges, including burdening them with estate administration during a period of mourning, embroiling them in potential family disputes concerning estate distribution, and selecting someone who may lack the requisite financial and legal expertise for the effective discharge of their responsibilities.

Depending on the potential for familial conflicts and the complexity of your assets, you might find it more prudent to designate an attorney, accountant, financial institution, or trust company as the personal representative or trustee. Naturally, this choice would entail the payment of professional fees. If, however, you opt for a family member, it is essential to choose someone you have complete trust in to manage your financial matters, as if they were operating your business while you are still alive.

Consult a Fort Lee, NJ Estate Planning Lawyer

You deserve the assurance that your loved ones will be well-cared for once you’ve passed. To secure the future of your close family members and other cherished individuals, it’s advisable to engage in a conversation with an estate planning attorney who can tailor their advice to your unique circumstances and financial status. The seasoned estate planning lawyers at the Choi Law Firm, serving clients in North Jersey encompassing Bergen County, Passaic County, and Essex County, as well as in New York, including Queens County, Nassau County, and NYC, are here to help. You can reach us at any time by calling 201-613-5557 or by completing our online contact form to arrange a private consultation. Our primary office is situated at 1372 Palisade Avenue, 2nd Floor, Fort Lee, NJ 07024, and we also maintain an office in Flushing, NY at 164-01 Northern Boulevard.

“ I always felt that they were genuinely fighting for me; truly looking out for my best interests."

I am very grateful for Sandra Choi and her team. They were kind, compassionate, thorough and very professional throughout the entire process of my case. I always felt that they were listening to my concerns and interests and provided all the professional advice and answers to my questions that I needed to feel confident about my decisions.

“ One of the best things about Ms. Choi is that she is caring and listens carefully to understand your situation."

Sandra Choi is attentive, kind, thoughtful, and professional. She was thorough and well-prepared throughout my case, and I was impressed by her honesty and work ethic. Ms. Choi and her team were helpful and responsive to my questions and concerns, and she certainly exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend Ms. Choi and her team.

Why Hire Choi Law Firm

We Are Skilled Counselors Demonstrating a Passion for Resolving Difficult Legal Problems

We Provide a Caring Environment So You Can Rest Assured Knowing Your Case is in Good Hands

We Develop Tailored Strategies and Solutions to Secure a Favorable Outcome in Every Client's Case

We Have Ninety Years of Combined Legal Experience Guiding Clients Toward Successful Results

We Work Tirelessly on Behalf of Individuals, Families, and Businesses in the NYC and North Jersey Areas

We Understand the Value of Prompt Legal Action to Resolve Your Situation as Efficiently as Possible

Schedule Your
Confidential Consultation

Your case is very important to us. This form is 100% confidential and an attorney will be in contact with you shortly.

"*" indicates required fields

100% Secure. We respect your privacy.