Estate plans are a comprehensive collection of documents and information that make up your assets, your property, your promises and, indeed, your whole life. As such, it is absolutely vital that anyone who is planning an estate collects all of the relevant information that is necessary to construct their estate plan.

So what kind of information will you need? Consider the following:

  • Where do you get your income, may it be principally or otherwise? You’ll need to note this in your estate plan.
  • Your accounts, benefits, bank accounts, pensions, IRAs, retirement benefits, profit-sharing plans and other financial information needs to be included. 
  • Your debts, including mortgages and loans, need to be noted in your estate plan.
  • Valuable property, including things that you jointly own, should be included. This can include jewelry, furniture, real estate, family heirlooms and other valuable items.
  • The location and the inventory of any safe boxes.
  • Relevant legal documentation is critical. For example, do you have a prenuptial agreement? You should include that. Any marriages or divorces? You should include that too. What about existing wills? Or trusts? Or deeds to pieces of property? Yep, include those as well.
  • Last but not least, you’ll need all of the relevant contact and personal information of people you plan to name as beneficiaries in your estate.

You may have a wealth of assets to protect, but you will also need a wealth of information to ensure that those assets sit safely in your estate plan.

Source: FindLaw, “Information You Need to Plan Your Estate,” Accessed May 18, 2016