Step 2: Take Stock of the Present

This step is critical because it is the foundation of your entire estate plan. You can save time and money if you have the following information ready before your first visit to an attorney. The following checklist is a summary of information that your attorney will need.

Checklist: Each of the following headings will take you to a page that has the relevant information that can be opened in a Word file.

  1. Family members' names and relationship to you
  2. Location of important papers
  3. Bank accounts and insurance
    1. Bank accounts and safety deposit box
    2. Life insurance policies
  4. Assets
    1. Trusts
    2. Real estate
    3. Stocks and bonds
    4. Mutual funds (not held in retirement account)
    5. Retirement benefits
    6. Personal property
    7. Notes, mortgages, and accounts receivable
  5. Liabilities
    1. Mortgages and other real estate debts
    2. Liens agains personal property (i.e. vehicle or machinery loans)
    3. Other personal liabilities
  6. Miscellaneous
    1. Other financial information
    2. Gifts given


Read about Estate Planning and Property Ownership (PDF: 256 KB) in this guide from Montana State University Extension.

This article from MetLife provides general information about making a will.