menu • links • IRS collection • sales tax • payroll tax • franchising • tax topics • legal topics • legal news • corporation/LLCs • sitemap

Information to gather and activity as a part of estate planning

Following is a partial list of information that you should assemble and actions you can take to assist your loved ones and the persons helping you if the need arises during your life, or after your death.

Information that your descendents would like to have is also included.

Reducing your possessions

You can ease the burden on the loved ones you leave behind and persons who have to implement your estate plan and deal without your death by sorting and organizing your "life" and possessions so they do not have to. This eases their work at a time of stress, and allows them to get on with their grieving process rather than sorting through your "stuff".

Lifetime giving

You may also want to give away some of the property you planned to pass on at your death while you are still alive to enjoy the pleasure of giving and appreciation of the recipients rather than waiting. As a bonus this reduces the work for persons dealing with your estate.

Create a starting point in the survivors' search

You should also make a list of the location of important documents and assets and or provide directions to where the listed information can be found (e.g., in the bottom left desk drawer, top filing cabinet drawer, etc.).

Names and contact information for various persons:

Details of their various financial accounts

Safe deposit box

Location of all the important papers

Copies of historic income and other (e.g., gift, property or business) tax returns (including any related correspondence)

Receipts for major appliances and home improvements

Details of life, property and health insurance coverage:

Vehicle registration and smog information

where is your vehicle title located 9typically a bank safety deposit box.

Promissory notes, mortgages, lines of credit, and credit card liabilities

That you owe or that are owed to you.

List of monthly expenses

Detailed records for income items

Tangible personal property

Detailed records of tangible personal property (other than vehicles) are rarely maintained. Writing down the story behind your "treasures" should be done so that the intimate memories and stories can continue to be recounted for generations. These details (described on Antique Road Show as "provenance") can also help ascertain values of necessary. This applies even to personal property with only sentimental value. Write down the stories, as well as who should receive the treasure in the hopefully far-off future, to preserve the family memories for eternity.

Personal history

It is a good idea to note the identity and relationship of persons in photographs and dates and location where the photos were taken. Take the time to celebrate life by going through these treasures with your loved ones while you and they are healthy.

Funeral instructions

You can assist those you leave by prearranging or even just providing funeral instructions: