CPA Accounting Firm Mesa AZ



Early Planning:

 The easiest way to organize your estate documents is to have a 3-ring binder. That way you can update some of your documents annually.

  1. Have a current copy of your will.
  2. Have a copy of your revocable or Living Trust, if applicable.
  3. Have a copy of your medical power of attorney.
  4. Have a copy of your durable power of attorney.
  5. Have a copy of your Health care directive.
  6. Have a copy of any gift tax returns filed.
  7. Have a list of bank and financial accounts, any safe deposit boxes and where key is located, update every year.
  8. Have a list of major inventory such as real estate, update every year.
  9. Have a list of major debts, update every year.
  10. You should also have a list of advisors or their business cards, update every year.

You may want to add a list of passwords for significant items in a safe location, instructions of how you want your funeral arrangements such as cremation or burial in a certain town or you may even want to add a list of persons with contact information to be notified of your death.

Immediately After Death:

First take time to grieve and have the funeral services, nothing needs to be done in the first few days.

  1. The executor/surviving spouse should schedule a meeting with the advisors in the first few weeks.
  2. The executor/surviving spouse should examine the estate documents and consider any issues and/or family tensions.
  3. The trust or estate may need a tax identification number and accounts may need to be re-titled in the new entity’s name and EIN.
  4. Consider whether a probate needs to be filed or should be filed.
  5. Request sufficient copies of death certificate (extra copies are often needed).

Six Months After Death:

The executor/surviving spouse will have several duties that their advisors may help with:

  1. Update the list of assets and liabilities, separate trust assets from non-trust assets.
  2. Look at beneficiary issues and consider disclaimers.
  3. Advise beneficiaries who will have income from the estate or trust.
  4. Examine Retirement account options, distributions may need to be made in the year of death.
  5. Arrange for appropriate tax returns to be filed.

Please call our office if we can assist you with any of these planning tips.