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Information You Need to Plan Your Estate

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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