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Estate Organizing Checklist

No one likes to think about dying — but planning ahead is a much better option than leaving your most important decisions to bereaved loved ones. Do your family a favor and give them a little peace of mind — by getting your affairs in order while you’re still able to make your own decisions.

Contact Information

Checkmark-Iconlawyer and executor of your will

Xmark-Iconaccountant, CPA, and bookkeeper

Checkmark-Iconinsurance agents — life, home, auto, etc.

Xmark-Iconbusiness associates and partners

Checkmark-Iconfamily, friends, and colleagues

Xmark-Iconstock broker, investment counselor, and financial adviser

Document Locator

Checkmark-Iconlegal — wills, powers of attorney, trust documents, safe deposit box

Xmark-Iconfamily — birth, adoption, guardianship, citizenship, marriage, divorce

Checkmark-Iconinvestments — CD, securities, stocks, bonds, retirement, annuities

Xmark-Iconbusiness — incorporation papers, contracts, agreements, computer back-up

Checkmark-Icondeeds and titles — title insurance, property, home inventory, vehicles

Xmark-Iconinsurance — life, death benefits, property, health, homeowners, auto

Checkmark-Iconmilitary — service records, discharge, pension

Xmark-IconID — passport, driver’s license, social security card

Checkmark-Iconincome tax records

Xmark-Iconbanking — loans, list of accounts, statements, canceled checks, passbooks

Planning In Advance

Checkmark-Iconhave you outlined your funeral arrangements and burial plans?

Xmark-Iconhave you purchased a cemetery plot?

Checkmark-Iconhave you purchased a pre-paid funeral or cremation plan?

Xmark-Iconhave you selected the music, prayers, and readings for your service?

Checkmark-Iconhave you made it known what you don’t want at your service? religious prayers, open casket, etc?

Taking Care Of Your Loved Ones

Xmark-Iconhave you set up guardianship papers for your children?

Checkmark-Icondo you know how much money your family needs to replace your income?

Xmark-Icondo you have adequate current life insurance to cover your family’s needs?

Checkmark-Icondo you have enough money specifically set aside to pay the cost of dying?

Xmark-Iconincluding inheritance taxes, executor, and probate fees

Checkmark-Icondo you have money set aside or long-term care insurance for long-term medical costs?

Xmark-Icondo you have beneficiaries for your accounts, investments, and insurance?

Tax Issues

Checkmark-Iconhave you set up a trust to protect your assets from undue taxation?

Xmark-Icondo you know how much inheritance tax will be due on your assets?

Checkmark-Icondo you know how much it will cost to have your will probated?

Xmark-Iconhave you left assets to your spouse which can be received tax-free?

Checkmark-Iconhave you begun gifting tax-free money to your children prior to your death?

Xmark-Iconare you planning to make a charitable gift as part of your estate plan?

Your Wishes

Checkmark-Icondo you have a current, up-to-date, signed will?

Xmark-Icondo you have a financial power of attorney set up?

Checkmark-Icondo you have a living will and medical power of attorney?

Xmark-Icondo you have a current signed organ donor card?

Checkmark-Iconhave you given copies of these documents to your executor and attorney?

Xmark-Iconhave you clearly outlined how you want your possessions distributed?

Checkmark-Iconhave you labeled any items you want to go to specific people?

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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