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Frank J Eberhart,CEP®,RFC®,Author

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The Planning Proceess...Phase II
by Frank J Eberhart,CEP®,RFC®,Author   
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Last edited: Monday, September 29, 2008
Posted: Monday, September 29, 2008

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Estate Planning Phase II… Checklist

Most individuals do not put estate planning or budgeting in writing. In a previous article on the planning process we discussed putting things in writing and updating as the need arises. Phase II you will need to complete is the estate planning checklist. Put this information in a separate book for your records.

You need to have a current will or trust, establish your living wills, make provisions for executor/executrix of your estate, assign a guardian for your children (in the event of simultaneous deaths), name all beneficiaries, and assign any successor trustees (like a bank trust department). Wills, which only become effective after death, and trusts should be reviewed every three to five years. You can find all of this outlined in my book in a fill in the blanks format, and complete with explanations[1].


Furthermore, a will does not provide for incapacitation (the ability to make short-or long-term decisions for yourself); it becomes court appointed in which case the court makes financial decisions on your behalf. Your IRA or 401K beneficiary designation can and will override your will or trust, so make sure you have spelled out what you want. In addition you need proper health and investment proxies, and power of attorney for you and your spouse (each of you has one) to provide direction for and control of your financial decisions. You will also need the following:

     Safekeeping for children’s and your and your spouse’s original birth certificates

      Life insurance for estate taxes and living expenses for surviving spouse

      A copy of your trust or will with all proper insurance policy numbers, brokerage accounts, bank accounts, annuities, and any other investments deemed important—and a video of your wishes to leave no doubt of your intentions—with your attorney or executor

      Life insurance on children (to guarantee insurability)

      Long-term health care provisions, durable power of attorney for health and investment directives

      Adequate homeowner’s insurance

      Mortgage insurance

      Umbrella policy (for additional liability coverage)

      Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds (if you own certificates, put them in street name[2] with a brokerage firm)

      Disability insurance (find out how much it covers and for how long)

      Long-term care policies

      IRA or other qualified plans—proper beneficiaries (spouse, trusts, and so on)

      Out-of-state property (find out probate rules and whether it’s in trust)

      Annuities, investments

      Safe-deposit box with copies of social security numbers and birth certificates

      Business succession plan, key-man insurance, buy-sell agreements (determine who takes over in the event of your death)

      Current budget (review annually)

      Current retirement budget (review annually)

      A filing system that identifies all categories such as auto, insurance, expenses, credit cards, investments, receipts, and any other pertinent information


Any kind of success comes from understanding what you are doing, good organizational skills (this can be taught), and putting things in writing. Of course you must actually complete your plan then follow through with monitoring and updating your plan and goals at least once per year.


Best of luck,


Frank J. Eberhart

[1] The Procrastinator’s Bible for Financial Success-second addition,

[2]        “Street name” means that you hold your securities and stock certificates in a brokerage account versus in your safe deposit box.


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Frank J Eberhart,CEP®,RFC®,Author

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