Financial Opinion and Insights

Your Estate Planning Checklist

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®

Jim Lorenzen, CFP®

Here’s a quick checklist, courtesy of Kathleen McBride, Editor-in-Chief of Wealth Channel, AdvisorOne.  Sit down with your estate-planning attorney and review it together.

  1. Check your will and create a `revocable trust’ to avoid probate.  Assets pass easily, much like under a will, but you can avoid the probate process.   Make sure your will is placed inside the trust.
  2. When you meet with your attorney, remember to set-up a review schedule.  Current tax law expires in two years.
  3. Assets should be titled in the name of the revocable trust – that includes your home, car, investment accounts, and other property.  Ask your attorney whether IRAs should be included since there are other factors to consider.
  4. Make sure both the trust document  and will reference the new tax law.
  5. You might want to make sure one or more people have a general power of attorney.  If you get into a car accident, someone has to write checks.
  6. Make sure you have a health care directive.
  7. Discuss a limited power of appointment (LPA) with your attorney so that somebody who benefits from the trust can decide where it goes when they no longer need the income.

This is just a `heads-up’ checklist to discuss with your estate planning attorney.  I am not an attorney and I didn’t even stay in a Holiday Inn Express.  I did watch Perry Mason when I was a kid, but I’m not sure that counts.


Jim Lorenzen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and in his 20th year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located in New York, Florida, and California.  He’s been a headline speaker at conventions throughout the United States, Canada, and the U.K. and has appeared in `The Journal of Compensation and Benefits’, as well as in The Profit Sharing Council of America’s `Insights’.    Jim has also appeared on American Airlines’ `Sky Radio’, heard on more than 19,000 flights.  IFG does not sell products, earn commissions, or accept any third-party compensation or incentives of any description.  Nothing contained herein should be regarded as tax or legal advice and the reader is urged to seek competent counsel to address those issues.   The above represents the author’s opinion and should not be regarded as investment advice which is provided only to IFG clients upon completion of a formal financial and investment plan.   For questions or comments, you can reach Jim at 805.265.5416 or through the IFG website, http://www.indfin.com.