Regardless of how far along you are in your planning, you’ll want to cover all aspects of your estate in order to achieve full confidence. Though there are several methods of crafting an estate plan, one thing is certain: a good plan is crucial to best care for your survivors and legacy. Use this simple checklist to help assess whether the necessary preparations have been made to care for your heirs in the unfortunate event of your passing.

retirement income road map map
retirement income road map travel

Although this is not a comprehensive guide, it does provide a starting point to determine how well prepared you are. If you are uncertain about the answers to any of these questions, it may be wise to make time for a professional legal and financial discussion. Already have a solid plan in place? It’s always wise to review it in case of any updates or changes you may want to make especially if you have not considered a tax reduction strategy yet.

Financial problems of senior couple

Your Wishes:

  • Do you have a will?
  • Are you happy with the executor(s) and trustee(s) you have chosen?
  • Have you executed a living will or health care proxy in the event of a tragic illness or disability?
  • Do you have a living trust to avoid probate?
  • If you have a living trust, have you titled your assets in the name of the trust?
estate planning checklist your family

Your Family:

  • If you have children, does your will name a guardian in case you and your spouse are deceased?
  • If you want to limit your spouse’s flexibility regarding the inheritance, have you created a Q-TIP trust?
  • Are you sure you have the right type and amount of life insurance to provide for survivor income, loan repayments, capital needs, and all estate settlement expenses?
  • Have you considered creating trusts for family gift giving?
  • Have you considered an irrevocable life insurance trust to exclude the insurance proceeds from being taxed as part of your estate?
estate planning checklist your taxes

Your Taxes:

  • If you are married, are you taking full advantage of the marital deduction?
  • Are you gifting to family members to take advantage of the $13,000 annual gift tax exclusion?
  • Have you gifted assets with a strong likelihood of future appreciation to maximize future estate tax savings?
  • Have you thought about charitable trusts that could provide you with both estate and income tax benefits?
  • Have you considered tax planning to avoid excessive taxes in retirement that may eat a large portion of your retirement savings that can contribute to your estate?
  • If you have an IRA, have you considered an alternative to the newly eliminated stretch IRA for heirs?
estate planning checklist your business

Your Business:

  • If you own a business, do you have a succession plan?
  • Do you have a buy/sell agreement to protect your family business interests?
  • Have you considered a gift program that involves your family-owned business?
estate planning checklist plan now

Why Plan Now?

  • A good plan is central to the physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing of yourself and your survivors.
  • By planning, you can properly preserve and allocate the assets you have worked hard to earn.
  • A plan will help determine the most advantageous means of owning property while you are alive.
  • Planning may help minimize estate and income taxes, administrative expenses, executor’s commissions, and attorney’s fees after your passing.
  • An estate plan can help provide funds for the education of future generations.
  • An estate plan can help provide adequate monies to care for expenses upon your death.
  • Coordinating your estate plan with your tax-reduction plan can help you make the most of the money you have and make now while ensuring there is plenty for your survivors.
estate planning checklist what can you do


You deserve to know why estate planning and tax-reduction planning are crucial to your unique situation and how it can be done. To learn how your financial health has been and continues to be impacted by taxes and what you can do about it now, schedule a free virtual time to chat with our team of experts. Click the link below, call 1-800-467-8152, or email to kickstart your tax-saving plan today.