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Estate Planning Documentation

Now that you have your estate planning finalized, it is important to make your personal representative’s (also known as the executor) job as painless as possible. If your personal representative does not know what assets you have, what debts are outstanding, etc., the costs to your estate for determining the assets and liabilities could be significant. In addition, it also increases the possibility that an asset is missed and not discovered until years later, which even causes more hardship and frustration.

Having a binder of information for your personal representative is essential. Updating that binder on a periodic basis is prudent.

Your binder should consist at a minimum of the following so that the asset/liability is ascertainable:


2) Trust;

3) Bank Accounts;

4) Brokerage Accounts;

5) Payable upon death information for your bank accounts;

6) Insurance policies;

7) Real Estate deeds, including for real estate owned with family members, investors, and third parties;

8) Child support orders, including modifications;

9) Divorce decree(s);

10) Spousal maintenance post-decree orders;

11) Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreements;

12) Pension/Retirement policies;

13) Life insurance policies;

14) Beneficiary designations for retirement, pension and life insurance policies;

15) Social security records;

16) Vehicle, boat, and recreational toys titles;

17) Mortgage and refinancing documents;

18) Loan documents and credit card accounts;

19) Safe deposit box information;

20) Business accounts;

21) Burial plan accounts;

22) Business company/corporate documents (e.g., buy-sell agreements, operating agreements, partnership agreements, etc.);

23) Social media accounts and passwords;

24) Online accounts information (e.g., Amazon Prime, Netflix, bank accounts, etc.) and passwords; and

25) Personal property list.

It is highly recommended that you set up a binder with the above information and update it annually. Doing so will make the personal representative’s job smoother and minimize the costs to the estate.

Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP assists individuals, business owners and their families with estate planning, business succession planning and elder law.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.