NEW YORK – No one likes to think about it, but it has to be done: estate planning. What will happen to your assets once you're gone? And have you done everything you can to make sure things go smoothly when the time comes for your executor to manage your estate?
According to Sheryl Garrett, author of "Planning an Estate: How to Plan, Write and Execute a Will," you should make sure you review the following checklist so that your loved ones don't have to worry:
Go over your will with your executor to make sure he or she does not have any questions. You should explain the rationale behind any unusual provisions.
Make sure your executor knows where your will is stored. Leave an unsigned copy of the will with your executor (just be sure to give him or her an updated version if you change the will).
Give your executor a summary of personal life and family history that will be pertinent to the will. Include a section in your will that explicitly states that your executor is expected to hire professionals as needed to carry out his or her duties. This will prevent problems with your beneficiaries.
Give your executor a list of the names and contact information for the attorneys, bankers, CPAs and financial advisers you work with. Put in writing your burial or cremation instructions; be detailed. Give a copy to your executor and your partner/spouse.
If you will donate your organs in the case of your death, put your wishes in writing. Be specific about the organization you wish to donate to, and leave a copy with both your executor and your partner/spouse.
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