Planning Checklist



    1. Where do you want your property to go? Think about spouse/partner/significant other, children, friends, other family members, charities, special circumstances, caregivers.

    2. Who do you want and trust as advisors/administrators/fiduciaries (family, professional)? Think about who you want to be your executor/personal representative, guardian of you or your children, conservator, custodian, trustee, health care agent, attorney under durable power, or who should have access to medical information under HIPAA. Do you want to donate your organs? Do you want to specify funeral arrangements? Do you want to leave information about your values or family tree? Who should deal with your digital assets?

    3. Trust funding issues. Now or later, partial funding, state issues (property in other states? other countries? timeshares, etc.), GST (generation-skipping transfer tax) allocation, irrevocable trusts?

    4. Real estate issues. How is title held? Do you have a Homestead? Are there Title 5 issues?

    5. Privacy issues. Probate or non-probate? Problem family members?

    6. Beneficiary designations - primary and contingent?


    1. On attached spreadsheet, “client 1" and "client 2” are you and your spouse or significant other.

    2. List assets as either probate (in your name alone) or non-probate (usually has a beneficiary designation, in a trust, or jointly owned). Fill in description, then put value in appropriate column under the appropriate name, or joint.

    3. Indicate date of information in comments column (i.e., statement date). Indicate beneficiary information in comments column.

    4. Obtain and bring to the meeting copies of all beneficiary designations, even if you know what they are, on life insurance, retirement accounts, IRA’s, pensions, annuities, etc.

    5. Obtain and bring to the meeting copies of all deeds, trusts, wills, other important documents (closely-held corporations, partnerships, etc.) in which you have an interest.

    6. Think about whether you may soon receive any inheritance – list in “other” row.

    7. Are you a beneficiary or trustee of a trust? Bring copies.
    8. Do you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement? Bring copies.

    9. Do you have a divorce agreement? Bring copies.

    10. Did you inherit any property within the last ten years? If estate tax returns were prepared, bring copies.

    11. Have you ever filed gift tax returns? Bring copies.

    12. Do you have any family stock? Bring copies.

    13. Are you a principal in any closely-held business? Bring corporate documents.


    1. If you have no Will - Intestacy Laws (Massachusetts). Who inherits?

    2. Basic documents you need such as a Will, Health Care Proxy, HIPAA Form, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will (shows intent in Massachusetts, not authorized by law), Funeral Memoranda, Organ Donation Form, MOLST.

    3. More advanced documents you may want such as a Revocable Trust, Irrevocable Trust, Nominee (Realty) Trust, Charitable Trust, QPRT, GRAT, Private Foundation, LLC, LLP, Homestead, Deed to transfer into Trust, Parental Delegation and Appointment.

    4. Tax planning. Think about gifts, equalizing estates, marital deduction, state law issues, property in other states or countries, charitable deduction, generation skipping transfer, income tax (basis) issues, gift tax returns, generation skipping transfer tax returns, non-US spouse or same-sex spouse issues, tax treaties, international issues.

    5. Foreign jurisdiction issues such as property owned in another state or country.

IRS Circular 230 Notice:To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax penalties.