Information You Need to Plan Your Estate

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

In planning your estate, it's helpful to have as much of the following information on hand as possible.

  • The names, addresses, and birth dates of all people, whether or not related to you, that you expect to name in your will
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the person (or people) you expect to name as the executor of your will
  • If you have minor children, the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of possible guardians
  • The amount and source of your principal income and other income, such as interest and dividends
  • The amount, source, and beneficiaries, if any, of your retirement benefits, including IRAs, pensions, Keogh accounts, government benefits, and profit-sharing plans
  • The amount, source, and beneficiaries, if any, of other financial assets such as bank accounts, annuities, and loans due you
  • The amount of your debts, including mortgages, installment loans, and business debts, if any
  • A list (with approximate values) of valuable property you own, including real estate, jewelry, furniture, collections, heirlooms, and other assets
  • A list and description of jointly owned property and the names of co-owners
  • Any documents that might affect your estate plan, including prenuptial agreements, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, recent tax returns, existing wills and trust documents, property deeds, and so on
  • The location of any safe-deposit boxes and an inventory of the contents of each.

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Next Steps

Contact a qualified estate planning attorney to help you ensure that your loved ones are cared for and your wishes are honored.

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