Items to consider in your estate plan

Estate planning may force Ohio residents to face their mortality. No one likes to think about death and dying, but anyone writing a will or developing a trust must think about what happens to their families upon their passing. Proper organizational skills might assist with covering all necessary steps, so creating a checklist may be helpful.

Fundamental steps for estate planning

Before deciding on what to leave beneficiaries, it could be a good idea to determine all there is to bequeath. Taking a complete inventory of assets puts a testator into a potential better decision-making position. The testator might also review what accounts could transfer outside of probate. Naming transfer on death beneficiaries to certain accounts could help such a cause.

Insurance policies have beneficiaries as well. Making sure the desired beneficiaries appear on the policies may require a review.

Providing details about other items pertinent to estates and probate might make things easier for survivors. Noting the location of past relatives’ death certificates, the testator’s online passwords and the location of specific physical documents may save time.

Estates and obligations

Estates may have debts, and settling those debts becomes a part of probate . Typically, the estate pays its debts before beneficiaries receive assets. Compiling a checklist of all outstanding debts could help the executor move to address debts without delays. Information regarding mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and lines of credit might appear on the list.

Tax issues could arise when settling an estate. Planners may create a file of all taxes-related documents, such as 1099s and copies of past returns. Remember, even though the estate might be below federal estate tax thresholds, filing and settling the decedent’s personal income taxes is necessary.