A checklist, everything you'll need to write your will

The best way to start is to make a list of all of your property and then begin to decide how you would like it dispersed.

When writing a will you decide who will receive all your belongings after you die. But how will they know what you own? Oftentimes folks have their assets scattered of different cities, states, and sometimes countries. The best way to ensure that your belongings end up in the right hands is that you carefully document everything for your executor to follow. 

The asset inventory is a non legally binding document that is there to aid your executor in the distribution of your assets. You can make a reference to your asset inventory in your will or share it with your executor upon completion and every time you update it henceforth. 

Start with the following details:

  • Your full legal name and full address
  • Executor's full legal name and full address
  • Alternate executor's full legal name and full address
  • Your beneficiaries – full legal name and full address, email address, and mobile phone number

Important documents

  • Birth, death, marriage, separation, and divorce certificates
  • Insurance policy numbers
  • Funeral plans and burial lot information (Don’t include your funeral plans in your will since it is not usually read until after the funeral. Give funeral plan details in a separate document to the person who would be making the funeral arrangements.)
  • Social Security card
  • Passport/Citizenship (naturalization) papers
  • Driver’s license number and expiration date
  • Adoption papers
  • Prenuptial agreement
  • Safe and combination
  • Safe-deposit box(es) and keys

Advisors (company names, email, phone, and addresses)

  • Banker
  • Financial advisor
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant
  • Insurance agent
  • A durable power of attorney
  • Healthcare proxy

Property 

Real estate owned

  • Addresses
  • Deeds
  • Mortgages

Bank Accounts:

  • Account Numbers
  • Account type (Checking, Savings)
  • Bank Names

Investment Accounts (Stocks, Bonds, Commodities, Mutual Funds)

  • Account Numbers
  • Account type (Retail, Discount)
  • Financial institution names

Retirement accounts

  • Pension
  • 401K
  • IRA

Vehicles (car, boat, camper, motorcycle)

  • Copy of title, registration, insurance
  • Loan or lease agreements

Valuables (jewelry, art, musical instruments, antiques, etc.)

  • Household furnishings
  • Personal property (crafts, collectibles, music, etc.)
  • Bequests of specific personal property (cash, investments, vehicle, valuables)
  • Charitable donations
  • If the children are minors, age of inheritance
  • Guardian(s) for dependent children or disabled adult children

Debts and loans

  • Credit card balances
  • Loan balances
  • Mortgages
  • Car loans and leases

Physical and care preferences

  • What you would like to do with your remains
  • Organ or body donation
  • Advance Care Directive
  • Physician’s Order of Life-sustaining treatment
  • Healthcare proxy – whom you want to make health care decisions on your behalf

A will stipulates who gets what. Your asset inventory stipulates what you got and where it can be found/accessed. It is recommended to share these details in a separate document directly with your executor. As for your digital assets, the same rules apply to create a checklist for your executor and make sure to share them. More on digital assets can we found here


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