By Steve Rohde
Special to Village News 

An estate planning checklist covers what to check and double-check


Last updated 4/24/2018 at 1am

Steve Rohde shares an estate planning checklist to help making those final arrangements simpler

Estate planning helps descendants handle their family member's legacy and dispense with their final expenses.

First, create a will if there isn't one completed yet. A valid will may save heirs from some expensive headaches linked to probate and ambiguity. A solid will drafted with the guidance of an estate planning attorney will likely cost a bit more than a "will-in-a-box," but it may prove worth the expense.

Complement the will with related documents. Depending on estate planning needs, these related documents could include a trust or multiple trusts, durable financial and medical powers of attorney, a living will and other items.

Next, review the beneficiary designations of retirement plans and insurance policies. It is probably a good idea to go back and check the documentation to verify or change who has been designated as beneficiary.

Also, create asset and debt lists. Be sure to provide heirs with an asset and debt "map" they can follow, so that they will be aware of the little details involved.

Think about consolidating any "stray" retirement or bank accounts. It could make one of the previous lists a little shorter. Consolidation means fewer account statements, less paperwork for heirs and fewer administrative fees to bear.

Let heirs know about desired causes and charities to support. Write down memberships to any associations and organizations to support.

Select a reliable executor. That person should have copies of the will, power of attorney documents, health care proxy or living will and any trusts created. In fact, any of loved ones referenced in these documents should also receive copies of them.

Lastly, talk to the professionals. Do-it-yourself estate planning is not recommended, especially if an estate is complex enough to trigger financial, legal or emotional issues among the heirs.

Steve Rohde may be reached at (858) 369-6474 or For more information, visit

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.


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