Planning for Life
Death is a fact of life. Everyone will experience it, and every family will be forced to sift through the affairs of a loved one after his death. Louisiana and federal law cannot eliminate the pain of a family's loss. However, substantial stress and uncertainty may be eliminated with appropriate estate planning.
A comprehensive Estate Plan may, among other things, eliminate disputes, reduce or eliminate taxes, and alleviate other concerns following death. Simply stated, your intentions, wishes and desires will be effectuated.
The first step in the estate planning process is to gather your thoughts. The following list of documents will help you in this task. The next step is to speak with an attorney qualified to help you in accomplishing your wishes.
Thinking of the end of our lives is difficult. However, with proper planning, uncertainties, worries, expenses and taxes may be reduced or eliminated and we can truly plan for LIFE.
*Names, addresses and phone numbers of your personal attorney, accountant, banker, stockbroker, and insurance agent
* List of all bank accounts with account numbers, PIN's if applicable, and location of original certificates of deposit or other evidence of ownership of accounts
* List of all health, life, and property/casualty insurance policies (including policy numbers, location of original policies and name of agent for each policy)
* Your Social Security number
* Any federal, state or taxpayer identification numbers
* Copy of your will, living will, and any powers of attorney and the location of the original documents
* Your burial instructions and any pre-need arrangements you have made
* Copies of marriage licenses, pre-nuptial agreements, judgments of divorce, birth certificates, baptism certificates and adoption decrees and the location of the originals
* List of all stocks, bonds, or mutual funds owned by you and the location of originals
* List of inter vivos or lifetime trusts you may have executed or any trust of which you are the beneficiary
* List of ownership interests you may have in any business venture
* List of retirement plans, deferred compensation plans or employee benefits you may be entitled to
* List of immovable property owned by you with current values, income tax basis and date of purchase
* Copies of vehicle titles and location of originals
* Copies of contracts you are a party to
* Copies of leases you are a party to
* List of mineral interests you may own
* List of annuities to which you are entitled or which affect you
* List of your debts
* Copies of current financial statements including balance sheet and income statement
* Copies of Federal and State Income Tax Returns
* Copies of Federal and State Gift Tax Returns filed during your lifetime
* Any special family problems or concerns you have
* A brief family history including any factual information which may be important to your family after you are gone