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Estate Planning Checklist for Everyday People

Estate Planning Checklist for Everyday People

a checklist, will attorney

An estate planning checklist can help everyday people ensure that choices about medical care, asset allocation, and even who cares for minor children are honored. Regardless of age, assets, or health status, nearly everyone needs an estate plan. By creating a checklist, people can make sure that important elements that pertain to their situations are considered and that all bases are covered.

There’s More to Estate Planning than Drawing Up a Will

An estate plan comprises a person’s wishes regarding how assets should be divided and outlines other important instructions like the medical treatments a person should receive in the event that they become incapacitated, or who shall care for the kids. There are a number of components that even everyday people without substantial assets should consider when creating an estate plan.

Living Trust

This denotes a legal document through which an individual places assets in a trust. The testator gets to benefit from the trust during their lifetime, and at their demise, the remaining assets are transferred to designated beneficiaries. A living trust ensures that assets are divided in accordance with the testator’s wishes and eliminates the need to go through probate.


A will provides an excellent opportunity for identifying the beneficiaries of an estate following the death of the testator. It also allows the testator to designate an executor who is tasked with clearing outstanding debts before transferring the property to the beneficiaries. If a person dies without a will, vital decisions are made at the discretion of the court. A will can also be used to appoint a guardian who will take care of the deceased’s children.

Health Care Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney spells out vital instructions pertaining to medical treatment should a person become incapacitated and incapable of making such decisions. People may choose to incorporate living will provisions with a health care power of attorney or keep a living will separate to outline specific instructions to be carried out in the event that they become terminally ill or in a vegetative state and unable to communicate.

An estate planning checklist goes a long way in protecting a person’s family from legal battles and difficult decisions after death. It helps with organizing personal and financial information regarding property, health and the welfare of dependents.

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